Me to We

Posted by martin.parnell |

Race completed:

  • Powderface42

  • Date: Saturday July 16th 2011
  • Location: Kananaskis, Alberta
  • Temp: 22C
  • Distance: 44.5km (actual)
  • Run Time: 7hr 39min 17sec
  • Average Heart Rate: 107 BPM
  • Total nos of Runners: 57

I've just finished reading "Me to We" by Graig and Marc Kielburger. It was recommended to me by Mary Lou at Bentley Books in Cochrane and it's very powerful. You may remember hearing about Craig. In 1995, when he was 12 years old, Craig, who was born in Thornhill, Ontario, saw a headline in the Toronto Star that read "Battled Child Labour, Boy, 12, Murdered." The accompanying story was about a young Pakistani boy named Iqbal Masih who, at the age of four, was forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory. By the age of 12, he had become an international figurehead for the fight against child labour. He was brutally murdered in 1995 at the age of 12.

Angered by the article, Craig began researching child labour. He took the article to school and, together with some of his friends, founded a group called the "Twelve-Twelve-Year-Olds." This evolved into "Free The Children", an international organization that has 45 countries participating in helping the plight of children around the World.

Section of the book discuss the link between helping others, gratitude and empathy resulting in increased happiness and improved health for the giver. In the book they highlight the impact adults have on children, "When values learned in childhood last a lifetime, it's clear that the world's most powerful people aren't presidents and CEOs. They're the parents and teachers who interact with children every day and shape the values the young will carry with them through to adulthood."

It got me thinking about Marathon Quest 250. People have donated $317,000 so far to help kids they don't even know. Two eight year olds Jillian and Treyton, both from Elizabeth Barrett School in Cochrane, donated their birthday money to allow disadvantaged kids to have a Right To Play program. During the year I ran with over 12,000 kids and time and again they wanted to now how to help and they were very creative with their fundraising ideas. I received emails telling me about the lemonade stands they had set up, the bake sales they'd held and the "Wall of Loonies" they had posted.

The book talked about connecting with your community and getting to know people in your neighbourhood. It said that you could make a difference the next time you walked out the door. So on Monday, as I headed out for my daily run I decided to give it a try. The opportunity arose in the first 100m. Many mornings last year, I had passed a lady in a yellow fleece using hiking poles. Rain or shine she would be walking up and down the path. I'd always say hi, but never stopped. I was too busy doing other things, like looking at my running watch for my heart rate or pace. Today I stopped and introduced myself. She said her name was Florence and she walks six days a week with Sundays off. She asked if I was OK after all the running last year and I said I was.  We said our goodbyes and we both headed off. Now that's Me to We.

Dr Randolph Randolph's book of animal jokes

Q: What's striped and bouncy?
A: A tiger on a pogo stick

Quote of the Day

"We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character."

Henry David Thoreau.

Jillian, age 8, believes in "Me to We"

Jillian

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AquaSize

Posted by martin.parnell |

Race completed:

  • Powderface42

  • Date: Saturday July 16th 2011
  • Location: Kananaskis, Alberta
  • Temp: 22C
  • Distance: 44.5km (actual)
  • Run Time: 7hr 39min 17sec
  • Average Heart Rate: 107 BPM
  • Total nos of Runners: 57

Injury is a part of a runner's life. During Marathon Quest 250 I had a major problem with a repetitive strain in my left leg and had to stop running for two and a half weeks. Other issues during the year included back pains, sciatic nerve issues, shoulder strain from the hydration pack, blisters (4) and falls (4). After the last run, on December 31st, things seemed to settle down a bit but recently I've develop rotator cuff problems in my left shoulder.  Sue's been having some foot challenges and has had to give running a break.

We were trying to think about what we could do to keep the blood moving when Sue mentioned AquaSize. She had been going to the Big Hill pool two times a week and she said it was a great workout. I was a bit sceptical, but have read a number of articles promoting this type of activity.

An article in "Runners World" stated that for years, world-class runners have used pool running to maintain their conditioning when they can't run. Former marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi ran in the pool to stay in shape when a foot injury prevented him from doing his normal training. Janis Klecker, a 1992 Olympic marathoner, has done twice-a-week pool runs for years. "If I'm too tired to run," says the dentist and mother of six, "I jump in the pool. It always reenergizes me." Also, Lisa Bentley, 3 times Ladies Ironman Canada winner, is a great advocate of pool running.

AquaSize is an impact-free exercise class which uses water resistance to improve strength, flexibility and endurance.  It can incorporate the use of floatation belts and foam dumbbells. It's a "Safe, enjoyable, well-balanced workout to music. Appropriate for swimmers or non-swimmers and all fitness levels".

Well, if it's good enough for a former marathon world record holder then it's good enough for Sue and I. On Wednesday evening we went down to Bill Hill Pool and paid our $5.75, for a 45 minute session. We headed into the pool and joined about 20 people. Instructor Miriam put us through our paces with a wide ranch of activities. We ran, stretched and completed various jumps and moves.

Towards the end Miriam threw some compressed foam dumb bells into the pool. They weigh about 500 grams each and are easy to lift above your head. However, we were told to put them below the water level and start pulling them down towards our hips. OMG. They suddenly turned into 20lb weights, a terrific arm and shoulders work out. The 45 minutes flew by and it was then time for the hot tub. I was very impressed with the session and will definitely go back.

As we age, we lose 1% of our muscle mass per year. So, it's very important that we continue to exercise the muscles we have and Aquasize can help you do this.

Dr Randolph Randolph's book of animal jokes

Q: What do you get if you all sit under a cow?
A: A pat on the head!

Quote of the Day

"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware."

Martin Buber

Even bears like AquaSize

Water bear

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Tennis Elbow

Posted by martin.parnell |

Latest Race completed:

  • City Chase, Toronto

  • Date: Saturday August 13th 2011
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario
  • Temp: 24C
  • Distance: 12.00km (running), 29.00km (Total travel)
  • Run Time: 5hrs 16min 41sec
  • Video: City Chase, Toronto
  • Total nos of Runners: 1200+

I love tennis. When I was 9 my parents bought an old run down property in southern England. The place had belonged to my grandmother and needed a lot of work. It was a large property and had an over grown grass tennis court. That summer it was my job to cut down all the weeds, roll the court and mark the lines. I strung string to outline the markings then painted creosol to kill the grass. Finally I mixed lime powder and water and painted the lines. Many a tennis game was played on that court, deep into a summer evening. At the age of 17 I went on a school trip to Wimbledon. A bus load of us headed up early in the morning and arrived at 9.00am. It was the first week of competition and there was play on all the outside courts. We walked around all day and even had a bowl of strawberries and cream. At 5.00pm a number of patrons, who had tickets for the centre court , left and gave us their ticket. During the day I watched Stan Smith and Illie Nastase. That year the winner of the boy's championship was a young lad called Bjorn Borg.

Last Wednesday I spent the day at The Rexall Centre in Toronto. This was the stage for the Roger's Cup Women's Championship. I was at the event on the invite of Ronald Persaud. Ronald works for Tennis Canada and I have been in touch with them to see if they'd like to hold a "Tennis Quest for Kids" in 2012. I had arranged to meet Ronald at 5.00pm so I spent the morning watching the Women's Number 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki get beaten in the 2nd round.

In the afternoon I watched Serena Williams and she played a terrific match. Later Ronald and I chatted. We talked about a number of ideas including an attempt on the current Guinness Book of records for the longest singles game. It currently stands at 61 hours so it would have to be at least 62 hours. The other idea was 24 hours of tennis. I would play 24 opponents, for example school kids, for one hour each over the day. Ronald said we'd stay in touch and he headed off.

Before I left the event I wanted to try one of the tennis challenges they had around the facility. This one allowed you to measure the speed of your serves. I asked to do a practice shot. Disaster. I've been having problems with the rotator cuff in my right shoulder and as I brought the racket back a sharp pain ripped through the shoulder. I put the racket down and walked away. If  I was going to do the endurance event next year the shoulder had better be in good shape. What other choice did I have? I walked around to court three and started watching a women's double match. Then I noticed that one of them was a left hander. That got me thinking.  I had always been right handed but why not switch to the left hand. So if you see me knocking balls into the creek from the Cochrane tennis courts you'll know what's going on.

 

Dr Randolph Randolph's book of animal jokes

Q: What kind of dog does Dracula have?
A: A bloodhound!

Quote of the Day

"None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Any one for Tennis?

Tennis

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City Chase

Posted by martin.parnell |

Latest Race completed:

  • City Chase, Toronto

  • Date: Saturday August 13th 2011
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario
  • Temp: 24C
  • Distance: 12.00km (running), 29.00km (total travel)
  • Run Time: 5hrs 16min 41sec
  • Video: City Chase, Toronto
  • Total nos of Runners: 1200+

One of my favourite shows on TV is "The Amazing Race". Teams of two have to travel around the world, solving clues. They also have to do some incredible tasks like zip- lining down a mountain and eating exotic foods.

Well, on Saturday August 13th, I was involved in a "mini" Amazing Race, called "City Chase". It was held in Toronto and had over 600 teams of two people. This series has been going since 2003 and is held in a number of cities in Canada, including Calgary. The winners go to the national final, which this year is being held in October, in Halifax. City Chase is a global phenomenon, with 16 countries participating and each year there is a World Championships. I should also mention that City Chase is sponsored by Mitsubishi Motors and Goodlife Fitness. In the past three years these events have raised over $500,000 for the children's charity Right To Play.

That morning, I drove down from Sudbury and, at 8.15am, arrived at the Toronto Metro Hall. The race was scheduled to start at 10.00am. By the time I got there people were already milling around and picking up their race packages. I met Sarah Stern from Right To Play and she said that I would be giving a little pep talk, just before the start. I didn't have a partner for the race so Sarah had asked for a volunteer from the staff at the RTP office. Christine Wong had very bravely stepped forward for this monumental challenge.

Christine arrived at 9.30am. It was going to be a hot and humid day. The theme for the event was the "70's" and a number of teams dressed as hippies. Groovy Baby. At 9.50am, I was called on stage and announced that every $50 raised would provide one child with a Right To Play program for one year and  wished everyone the best of luck. At 10.00am the gun went off and more than 1,200 competitors set off for Union Station.

A little bit about the rules. Each team must get 10 "ChasePoints". There are two groups of clues and you must get three compulsory ChasePoints in each. There are 40 ChasePoints to choose from and you have 6 hours to complete the event. The other option is the "Enduro" event where you get as many ChasePoints as you can, in the allotted time (next chase!).

Christine and I arrived at Union Station and picked up our clue sheet. Then Christine hit the smart phone. She had lined up another RTP employee, Sergio, to help with the clues. He was on a lap top and helped us plan our route. In many ways Christine and I were the perfect team, she knew the city and was good with technology, while I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of 70's trivia.

Christine led the way and during the day we walked, ran and jumped on and off buses, trolleys and subway cars. To be honest I didn't have a clue where we were going but I felt we were making good time. At each ChasePoint we had to do a task. The most memorable were running on a treadmill for the amount of calories that equalled a chocolate bar, pulling a vehicle (not a smart car) and eating a worm (Christine had to wear a snake).

We arrived back at the finish in 5hr 22min 38sec, good enough to place 137th out of 600. Not bad for a couple of rookies! I had tracked the distance covered. We had walked/run 12km but travelled a total distance of 29km. What a blast. All day we chatted with other teams and met many people on the streets and public transportation. One group, from New York, wanted to know what we were doing and planned to see if their city had a Chase.

This year, the Calgary event was held on June 11th. I am definitely going to enter next year's Chase. Now all I need is a partner with a smart phone.

Dr Randolph Randolph's book of animal jokes

Q: What do you get if you cross a frog with a ferry?
A: A hoppercraft!

Quote of the Day

"I like running in the snow alot to"

Faith (age 7), Mount View school

Race partner, Christine, has a new best friend.

Snake

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Expedition Impossible

Posted by martin.parnell |

Quests for Kids

Event #2:

Netball Quest 61

  • Guinness Book of Records Challenge for the Longest Game of Netball EVER>>>>>

  • Event: To play a game of Netball for 61 hours continuously
  • Where is it: South Fish Creek recreation Complex (S.E Calgary)
  • Start time: 5.30pm Friday Sept.16th
  • Finish time: 6.30am Monday Sept.19th
  • Reason to do it: Right To Play fundraiser
  • Donate: MARTIN'S DONATION PAGE

During these lazy summer evenings, Sue and I have enjoyed watching "Expedition Impossible". This show involves teams of three people attempting to tackle some of the toughest terrain in Morocco. The scenery has been spectacular and the teams have had to repel down cliffs, raft down raging white water rapids and crawl through a labyrinth of caves. The show is produced by Mark Burnett and you might know him for shows such as "Survivor", "Shark Tank", "The Apprentice" and "Are you smarter than a 5th Grader?"

Mr. Burnett has an interesting background. Born in England, he joined the British Army and between 1978 and 1982 served with the Parachute Regiment in the Falklands. In October 1982, he decided to leave Britain for the United States, where he took a live-in nanny position with a family in Beverly Hills. Though he had no experience in that field, because of his military background, the family, realized the advantage of having a nanny and security guard all in one and hired him. After a year, he moved on to another family in Malibu, taking care of two boys for $250 a week. He was eventually given a position in the insurance office owned by the boys' father.

Two years later, at the weekends, he decided to rent a portion of fence at Venice Beach and sell T-shirts for $18 each. Realizing he made more money at this, Mr. Burnett left his insurance job.

In February 1991, he read a newspaper article by Jon Markman, about a French adventure competition called the Raid Gauloises. With four other members, he joined the Raid, and called his team American Pride. Aside from adventure, he saw a business opportunity in the competition, bought the format rights and launched a similar race in America, called "Eco-Challenge". It launched his career in TV production.

Over the years Mr. Burnett has produced many shows, but his heart is in Adventure Racing. On "Expedition Impossible" each team has a theme. In this series, teams included the Police, the Fishermen, the Football Players, and the Cowboys. One of the top teams was No-Limits and one of their members, Eric Weihenmayer, was the star of the show. Eric is blind.  He was born September 23, 1968 and, on May 25th 2001 was the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.. In June 2001, Time magazine covered his story in an article entitled "Blind to Failure". Erik is an acrobatic skydiver, long distance biker, marathon runner, skier, mountaineer, ice climber, and rock climber. In September 2002, he also completed the Seven Summits, successfully climbing the seven highest peaks on the seven continents. He completes these amazing feats with the guidance of Jeff Evans who was also a team member on Expedition Impossible.

In early 2006, Sue and I had the pleasure of meeting Erik. A movie was being made of his life, including his ascent of Mount Everest. It was called "Touch the Top of the World" and was being shot in Calgary and Banff. They were looking for extras to play a crowd scene at a local school so Sue and I went along. The scene was set in Weston High School, Connecticut. Erik was the school's wrestling champion and he was representing the state in National Freestyle Wrestling Championships.

Last Thursday was the final episode of "Expedition Impossible" and No-Limits had to go against three other teams. They started off having to paddle a tin boat across a lake and then ride Arabian stallions to the first check point, where the football players came in fourth and were eliminated. The final three teams had to drive to Marrakech and figure out a route through the back streets of the city. Finally, they had to go down into catacombs and solve a Moroccan puzzle box, in order to retrieve a key which would enable them to complete the final task. It was a dash to the finish. No-Limits came second to the Gypsies. Erik had shown that, despite his disability, he was able to keep up with the other competitors and proved that he is the perfect role model for people without sight.

As he said, in his life, "There are no limits".

Dr Randolph Randolph's book of animal jokes

Q: What kind of fish will help you hear better?
A: A herring aid!

Quote of the Day: School Kids

"When running think warm happy thoughts"

Eric (age 9), Mitford Middle School

Jeff Evans leads blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer on Expedition Impossible

Expedition Impossible

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