Saturday, October 24, 2015
Since then I have had many others who have had an impact on my running by motivating me to do something better, to test my limits, to attempt something extraordinary. These people have included coaches, teammates, friends, and complete strangers who have shaped my running with or without knowing it. I find inspiration in many things, but none more than others who are passionate about running.
Now it is my turn to give back. Like a dream come true, I am now teaching in that same school in the small community of Stewartville, MN. I grew up here and am proud to raise my family here. Like I said, it is my time to give back, to inspire others, and to share my love of running with anyone who will listen. One lesson that I try to teach my students includes my personal motto about running. Don’t set your limits…go out and find them.
As a teacher I hope to inspire my students to do the same. Two years ago, I came up with the idea for Mr. Parry’s Endurance Challenge. The challenge was, by design, intended to be simple; my students were to complete twenty-four hours of exercise over a ten week period. There were many in the community who also took part, some making big changes in their lives because of it. Some came to run with the local running club I started, the Stewie Striders. My end of the deal was that I would run for twenty-four continuous hours around town at conclusion of the challenge for my students and others to see. In 2009 I completed 96 miles and came back in 2010 with the goal of completing at least 100 miles.
These were my thoughts written several days later:
The 2010 Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge was completed on April 30th with my 24 hour run around Stewartville. The challenge began 10 weeks earlier, encouraging the students and community of Stewartville to get out and be active. Participants were asked to log their exercise during that time in order to hold themselves accountable. 200 people signed up this year for the challenge! My end of the deal was a bit more difficult. From 8:30am on April 29th - 8:30am on April 30th I ran/walked a 4 mile loop around Stewartville, completing 100.68 miles. During last years run, I was only able to log 96 miles. I had 2 areas of focus about challenges for my students this year. What do you do when you try to accomplish something, but don't quite accomplish it? The other being, what do you do when things get tough...quit? Both lessons would be severely tested this year. There were 2 overall themes from this year that defined the run. The first was suffering. The second was leaning on your friends and letting them help you. In many ways, my run this year was much more difficult than last year. The 2 biggest obstacles were the weather and stomach issues. Without my friends and the support of others, including complete strangers, I would have never completed my part of the challenge this year. There was a 25-35 mph wind from the south for most of the 24 hours. That alone is bad enough, but after working against the headwind each lap, I then ran with it, making me realize how warm it really was. Temps got up to 80 or a little more during the day and it continued to be warm and muggy during the overnight hours. On top of that, several lines of thunderstorms threatened us beginning at 10pm, with a direct hit at 2am or so. With my feet completely soaked at that point, I could not avoid blistering. The entire front of both feet blistered, making forward movement difficult at best. The stomach issues began at mile 51, after several miles of heartburn and dizziness. I threw up the first time with an audience of about 40 students and others with me to help me along after school. No one said a word...no one asked me if I was ok...everyone simply knew that I needed to get it over with. They understood before my run that there would be suffering and they were willing to let me deal with it as best as I could. During each of the subsequent laps I had bouts of an upset stomach, with the next big round of puking not happening until 12:30 am. This time the audience was much smaller, with a few adults and just 2 students present. The 2 young ladies still with me at the time eventually completed 12 miles, saying that they want to run 16 next year! They were amazing and looked strong the entire way! I am not really sure why I had stomach issues. I have never had problems with eating and running. In the week or so after my run, I realized that I may have been ill, as my family all dealt with fevers and vomiting for hours at a time. I realized within minutes of the start of the run that I was not feeling right. That's ok I kept telling myself...it will pass in a couple of hours. It didn't. 2 hours into the run, I was tired...really tired! That is not at all normal for me. So abnormal that I had to deal with it the only way I know how. I turn to myself and ignore everything around me, letting the time pass by. This worked for small chunks of time. But...I had promised to run by each of the schools in town and high-five the kids or run a few laps with them on their playgrounds. This really broke up my concentration and the time I felt that I needed alone with my thoughts. I really needed this time to myself to deal with the pain that I knew would come later in the evening. So by 5pm, I was spent and unable to take in any significant calories. By this time I was desperately waiting for my friend and former coach Mike Russell to show up. I knew that he would understand what I was going through. It was his plan to do all of the thinking and tell me what to do. He was going to get me to 100 miles. Sometime around 8pm, all of a sudden, he was just there at my side, asking how I was doing. Mike kept me moving much more quickly into the late evening hours than last year. Still, by midnight, I had enough. He still pushed. By 3am, I was ready to quit. He still pushed. He figured that we were going to be very close to getting in 100 miles. By 5am, I was unsure I could keep moving forward for another 4 mile loop, let alone 3 1/2 hours! He still pushed. At one point, we were behind pace by about 15 minutes. Still, he pushed...at this point literally. A couple of teachers from my middle school took turns hooking me by the arm, pulling me along. Without the help of others, I would not have made it. I did feel better after having some toast a little before 6am, and the return of light helped a little. The unwillingness of others to let me quit is what kept me going. I know I looked horrible, but I knew I was physically ok. I just couldn't find the energy to deal with anyone or anything, from talking to climbing up or down from a curb. I am not sure when I realized that I would finish...probably not until the last 1 1/2 miles, at which point Gold Cross medics stopped me. I had to refuse treatment to continue on! I had to get in 100 miles! I promised! After walking most of the last 1 1/2 miles with an Olmsted Co Sheriff's car as an escort, I ran the last few hundred yards to finish in front of my school, with the entire student body out to cheer me on. What a thrill! 100 miles!!! Still, I was too tired to enjoy it. I needed to get home to bed. In case you are wondering, it took me 2 days before I was thinking about next year.
The question that was raised over and over was whether or not I should turn my runs into fundraising opportunities, but it never was about that. My intention was always to simply get my students out to run. On the other hand, I knew that events like this could be used to help out others. My solution was to have a running event that would benefit a cause that I have a personal connection to.
Here are my thoughts from that run:
On August 3, I ran on a treadmill in the lobby of the Rochester, MN Area Family Y for 17 hours to raise funds for the Strong Kids Campaign. My family was able to take part in Y programs when I was a child because of this scholarship program. We would never have been able to afford those opportunities without the generosity of others. This run was called Mr. Parry’s Endurance Challenge for the YMCA and is one way I feel I can give back. My run at the Y was an extension of another run I have done the last 2 years in my hometown of Stewartville, MN. I am a 6th grade teacher there and Mr. Parry’s Endurance Challenge has been an effective way for me to motivate and inspire my students, the school staff, and others in the area to get out and be active. The end of this challenge culminates in me running for 24 consecutive hours, doing a 4 mile loop repeatedly around Stewartville. Last year I completed 96 miles. This year I was able to make it 100.68 miles. Even though my run at the Y was only 17 hours, it proved to be at least as difficult as 24 for several reasons. Boredom, body temperature control, needing to be able to visit for the entire time, and the repetitive nature of running on a treadmill all took their toll on me. The plan was to have 2 treadmills set up in the lobby of the Y – 1 for me and the other for anyone else who wanted to show up, contribute to the Strong Kids Campaign, and run or walk for a while. The Y had put up and advertized a schedule to get people to sign up for running/walking on the other treadmill and by the day before the run, every last one of the 15 minute time slots was full! Local businesses and individuals contributed prizes for an hourly drawing. The goal of raising $1000 was set and I was off. I was not concerned with the pain that might come later in the day. I just didn’t want this fundraising effort to “flop”. I began my run at 5am and had a phone interview that played on several area radio stations a couple of hours later while the miles comfortably passed by. Soon afterward the phones at the front desk started ringing with people wanting to come in and run with me. One call after another I heard the staff say that they were sorry, the other treadmill was booked for the day, but the caller could come in to contribute and see what was going on. People were stopping by to see if they could run or walk with me too. The decision was quickly made at that point to pull out a third treadmill from the fitness center to allow more to participate in the event. I passed the marathon point in 5:30 – not fast, but I had been expending too much effort and concentration on keeping my body temp down. I would run until feeling way too warm and, at times, nauseous. I would then walk for several minutes until things calmed down again. I had no breaks planned, but did allow myself to use the bathroom from time to time. I ate while walking or running in order to get in as many miles as possible. Both complete strangers and friends came and went, telling me their stories, contributing money, and thanking me for what I was trying to do. Some had very inspirational stories about how running had changed their lives; others were running to deal with the grief of losing a loved one or as a way to cope with other hardships . I always love hearing stories like that! While some of the camp counselors at the Y ran with me for a few minutes, the kids in their groups cheered us on. Local TV stations and newspapers came by for the story. They would later call for updates on how I was doing. All was going well at that point, with not a whole lot of pain in my feet or legs .By early evening, I was told that the $1000 goal had been met. Good. That pressure was off. I hadn’t wasted their time! By 8pm I suspected that I would be ready to be done at 10pm. By 9pm I was certain! The last hour was difficult, but my wife was there to reassure me that things would be ok. The problem was that I could see more concern in her face than reassurance.10pm – done! 67.5 miles. Not the greatest performance, but I will take it, considering all that happened that day. We raised $1550, which will be used to provide scholarships for needy kids to attend Y camps and programs.
So where does this leave me? Still looking for bigger and better! Mr. Parry’s Endurance Challenge 2011 has taken on a new twist - for my students and others to complete 26.2 miles of running/walking during the month of May. I have included several options for this, allowing both the beginner and advanced runner to set a goal and accomplish it. To conclude this challenge I will be doing 7 marathon length runs in 7 days, finishing up with the Med City Marathon in Rochester, MN on May 29th. After that, who knows? I am teaming up with a non-profit organization which promotes physical exercise for families. I will also be pacing some races this year with the MN PACERS, aiding other runners accomplish their time goals in races ranging from the ½ marathon to marathon.
I have plenty of things I still want to do with my running. The funny thing is, twenty-five years ago I knew I would still be running today, and that I would still have that same drive to seek out the extraordinary. Thank you Mr. R.!
Sunday, September 15, 2013
When: any time between TODAY and October 31st
Where: as the event name says, somewhere - your choice
Who: anyone, this event is open to the public, so please pass it on
A play on words, Destination Run Somewhere is not about traveling to another location or destination to run, rather running to a destination - " Destination Run" and "Run Somewhere", combined. The goal is to pick another location to run to, or to run home from another location. Walkers are invited too. This could be another city, town, or a landmark. The point is to get out of your normal routine run near where you live, test your limits, and expand your horizons, literally. Try something new. Logistics could be an issue, as you may require a ride home or to the starting point of your run. Otherwise a round trip may be in order.
I will post my destination runs somewhere on the above Facebook Event page as well as here, and I encourage you to do so as well, showing others where you have traveled by foot, and inspiring them at the same time. Post as many of these runs as you like - the more posted runs the better. A description of the run and the location of the start and end of it would be good. A link for the mapped run on RunKeeper or another mapping website would be even more interesting. Pictures would be great as well.
Enjoy your Destination Run Somewhere!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Due to the snowstorm hitting the area May 2-3, Mr. Parry's 24 Hour Run/Walk has been moved to Thursday, May 16th at 8am - Friday, May 17th at 8am.
The 2013 version of Mr. Parry's 24 Hour Endurance Challenge takes place from March 1st through May 17th. Participants are asked to exercise in any form for a total of 24 hours over those 8 weeks. For my part, I will be getting ready to complete my 24 hour continuous run/walk around Stewartville from 8am on Thursday, May 16th through 8am on Friday, May 17th.
See the tabs to the right for information about this challenge in years past.
Sign up here to show your commitment to an active lifestyle.
Those of you who are planning on joining me during my run and walk for a while will be able to indicate when on this form as well.
LIVE TRACKING IS BACK!!!...you now have the option to track my exact whereabouts in real-time during my 24 hour run for Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge. Go to the following link or click on the RunKeeper icon on the left. http://runkeeper.com/user/JimParry/activity/
Satellite and hybrid views tend to work the best.
Stewartville Star article from April 16th, 2012 about last year's event:
The 2013 version of my challenge will have me again attempting the 24 hour/100 miles format. Students and others are again challenged to complete 24 hours of exercise over an 8 week period. That works out to only 3 hours of exercise per week for 10 weeks! Everyone should be able to do that!
My 24 hour run/walk around Stewartville will take place from 8:00am Thursday, May 16th to 8:00am Friday, May 17th, 2013. If you are in the area, please consider coming to run with me...evening, overnight, and the early hours on the 2nd day are always the most difficult, so I could use the encouragement of company.
The challenge itself is easy. Get out and complete 24 hours of exercise over 8 weeks. All movement counts, including running, walking, biking, walking to school, walking the dog, sports practices, etc. Again, that is only 3 hours per week. Hold yourself accountable and keep track of what you are doing.
Printable log here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-xFX5JuL4fDcmhRcW56XzQ2RzQ/edit?usp=sharing Print this and fill out what you are doing to keep active, the number of minutes, cumulative totals, and any comments on that day. This log is for you to keep and does not need to be turned in to me. Use it to hold yourself accountable. You could also use a calendar or create your own log if that is easier for you. I will have a follow-up Google Form that can be filled out at the completion of the challenge to tell me how it went for you.
Be sure to check back here often for updates and to fill out the follow-up Google Form at the completion of the challenge.
This run starts at 8:00am on Thursday, May 16 and will continue until 8:00am on Friday, May 17. Stewartville Middle School address is 500 4th St. SW. My run begins and ends here and will be passing by the school during each of my 4 mile loops. This 4.01 mile loop will be run counter-clockwise. I will have my aid station in my vehicle set up in the MS gym parking lot behind the school (NW side of the building). I will again be keeping a log of my miles and the time of day I last stopped by my vehicle on my last lap. See this log on the front passenger seat to figure the approximate time of my next return.
If you are a teacher and would like to share this challenge with your students or team, or organize a run at your school, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to expand the 24 hour challenge on to students in other schools. There are already several around the country that will be doing their own challenges. The best way for me to do this is to get other teachers involved. Challenge your students to complete 24 hours of exercise over an 8 week period. Sign up yourself, print out a log, fill it out, and keep it posted in your classroom for your students to see. You can have your students sign up individually, or sign up as an entire class - see the form link above for information. Finish it up with a run or walk as a class, grade level, or school to celebrate. It would be great if this were to follow the timeline of my challenge here in Stewartville, following the dates listed above. Let's see how many students we can get out, being active, and doing something good for themselves!
Aside from the known benefits of exercise on brain function, as well as the physical benefits, I try to focus on a few lessons that can be learned from this challenge.
1. How to set a goal.
2. How to make a plan to get ready to accomplish that goal.
3. Preparation to accomplish that goal.
4. Time to prove yourself - performance, contest, game, test, etc.
5. What happens if you succeed? Are you all done then?
6 What happens if you fail? Are you all done then?
7. Finding an activity that you are passionate about to do the rest of your life.
All of these apply to school, relationships, etc, as well as athletics!
More details to follow...
See the tabs to the right for information about the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 versions of this run.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Check back for updates, but a sign-up sheet should be ready any day at the Y. Join me for a few minutes on one of the other 2 treadmills that will be set up next to my treadmill in the lobby that day. You do not need to be a member of the Y to participate in this event. Also, please consider donating to this worthy cause. Every little bit helps!
See the other tabs above for information about this run in previous years.
Call 507.287.2260 to make a donation and/or reserve a spot on one of the other treadmills. Donations can also be made in person or at www.rochfamy.org Click DONATE NOW, enter your information, put in honor of Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge.
STEWIE DAY AT THE Y
This year we are pleased to offer those who are closest to me a special deal. I would like to offer those individuals who are Stewartville Public Schools students, staff, and all residents of Stewartville a family day-pass to the Rochester Area Family Y good for March 8th in exchange for a $10 donation to the Y's Annual Support Campaign. The family day-pass cost is normally $25. At least 1 person in your group must be at least 18 years old. Bring a current driver's licence or school ID for proof of eligibility. Print out a copy of this pass, fill it out, and bring it with you for access to the Y on March 8th.
Link to printable pass: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1oq4temv3Tla2M4cU8tbDROZ1E/edit?usp=sharing
Call 507.287.2260 to reserve a spot on one of the other treadmills and/or donate to the Annual Support Campaign and visit http://rochfamy.org for more information.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Here are a couple of great videos that I saw today. I see great lessons to be learned from both of them. What do you do to achieve greatness?
Congrats to George Zack on his win with Jack the burro at Sundays World Championship burro race. George and Jack ran 29 miles together, climbing up and down Mosquito pass in Fairplay, CO. I need to do this race someday!!!
I've also been following Marshall Ulrich's circumnavigation of Death Valley. He has been a hero of mine for a long time. I've followed his explorations for 17 years or so, beginning with watching his teams race in each of the Eco Challenges. Daily updates, including links to pictures and some video, as well as a link to live-tracking this expedition can be found here. http://www.marshallulrich.com
This after Marshall ran the Badwater 135 just a few days before. Here's a great recap video from this year's race.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Most of my runs the last year and a half have been with others. Although I really do enjoy the company, I thrive on the miles I run by myself. I see the need for both of these in my life and when things get all "lop-sided" I feel like something is missing. I enjoy the conversation and stories I get to hear when running with a partner, with my kids, or a group like the Stewie Striders.
|Running with Abbi on the summit of Pikes Peak last month.|
At the same time, I need to have time to myself when I can let my thoughts drift from one subject to another. Other times, I find myself lost in the simple sounds of my breathing and footsteps on the ground. This can go on for hours. Getting lost in nothingness can happen for me during daytime or nighttime runs. It is during these runs that I feel most refreshed and for at least a short time all the stresses of life don't seem to be as big. The best part of this is the fact that this feeling of peace can last for hours.
So, what do you think? Do you primarily run with others, alone, or a good mix of both and why?
Ran alone and with a group this evening. Ran to the Williw Creek Reservoir to meet up with Jim Mason's Tuesday trail running group. Did a couple of laps around the reservoir with them, then finished up the rest of my run into Rochester's south Target store. Started out way too fast, then ran too slow, then was forced to walking, but the foot felt good again. Another run that I would rather have suffered through alone, even though the company was great. 12 miles.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
I will be pacing the Med City Marathon on Sunday for the MN PACERS. Pacing the 4:30 marathon group this year. Follow my progress on RunKeeper Live by clicking the RunKeeper link to the left.
Don't set your limits. Go out and find them.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
My run started out well. I cruised through the first 12 miles or so at about 10:00-10:30 per mile. Everything felt great and under control. I was already thinking about the number of miles that I might be able to cover. I wanted to bank a few quick early miles, knowing that it would likely rain, and that the rain would slow me down. I figured that once the rain let up, I would then be able to easily pick up the pace again. That turned out to never be the case.
The lesson of the day had to do with CONTROL. I could control my pace, my attitude, what I ate, what I drank, but I could not control the weather. The weather defined this run! It started raining at about 10am and would let up slightly at times, but never gave up all together. This made the conditions miserable at best, and likely dangerous for myself and those outside with me. Mike showed up late in the morning and stayed with me like he said he would. I was hearing from others that the rain would continue until midnight, and most likely throughout the night as well. There was no way I was going to be able to continue this for the next 16-18 hours!
We made a quick pitstop in the school at about 4:30pm to change into dry clothing. There were students waiting to join me for the next loop, but it was simply too cold, too wet, and too miserable out. I did not want anyone to get ill for this run.
I made the decision to walk laps inside the middle school/high school. 5 1/2 laps equals 1 mile, so I figured I could walk this for a while and re-evaluate my goals for this day. I was cold...very cold and had the shakes pretty bad for a while. But, on the other hand, I did feel ok, and did not want to let go of this, so we walked. It took me an hour or so to come to my senses and realize that my day was done.
We ended up resetting 2 possible goals - 12 hours, or 50 miles within a couple of hours after that. I was joined inside by students, staff, friends, and strangers for the final miles of my journey. I decided to call it quits at 46 miles. But then again "quitting" isn't really the right word for it either. I simply stopped because it would have been unwise to continue. I was ready to go home to a warm bed at that point.
You can't control everything. I am ok with how things turned out. Disappointed at first and not ready to let go, but fine with it once I made that decision. I don't dwell on that stuff...I can't...it's just not the way I am wired.
Don't set your limits. Go out and find them. On this day, I definitely found mine!
Just so you know, Kyle Amos had a perfect day in KS, covering 116 miles! Amazing! I am proud of him and what he does to help out the students in his school.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Jim, Kyle wanted to tell you he is sorry to hear about the battle with the weather. Congrats on finishing 50 miles!
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Satellite and hybrid views tend to work the best.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Making It Better MN will be sending down the Modern Storytellers team again on Tuesday, January 24th to film a promotional video they are producing about some of the initiatives that are taking place around the state.
Pictures from today's photo shoot. Modern Story Tellers handled everything today, sending a team of about 8, along with a rep from the MN Dept of Health and Olmsted County Public Health.
Update: November 19th
I met the Modern Story Tellers team today at the Y. They liked the site so much that they decided immediately to use it. They will be back on December 10th for the photo/video shoot and to record my story for the radio ads. Sounds like the radio ads will air soon after that, with the radio, TV, and newspaper campaign starting early next year.
I will be meeting a team from Modern Story Tellers tomorrow to scout locations for the photo/video shoot for the Making It Better MN advertising. We will be looking at the Rochester Area Family Y and Stewartville Middle School as possible locations. We will be meeting again on December 10th to actually do the photo/video shoot and to record the interview for radio advertising. The plan is for the advertising campaign to include radio, newspaper, and TV ads.
Update: November 8th
More great news! I found out tonight that I won the Making It Better MN Challenge with 765 "thumbs up"! Because of this, Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge will be a part of the Making It Better MN advertising campaign next spring.
Please do me a favor and go to the following link at Making It Better MN and give Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge a "thumbs up" there for this contest. The winner will be used for their advertising campaign next year. Also, please pass this on to anyone you think will take the time to quickly vote. It is my goal to encourage and inspire others to get out and be active. Thank you.
Making It Better is a community initiative that brings people together to discover, share and celebrate stories that inspire healthy everyday choices for everyone. It’s an open forum anyone can participate in to learn how to help more people have greater access to healthier foods and new opportunities for physical activity.
Making simple changes to improve nutrition and increase physical activity is the best way to reach a healthy weight as individuals and prevent chronic health problems such as diabetes and heart disease across the broader population. Making It Better inspires changes in our communities that help make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Each of us can make a difference. Many people already are, launching and taking part in initiatives that help our communities become healthier places to live, work and go to school.