Friday, August 30, 2013

Exercise of the Week - By PNF - Rear foot elevated lunge

How to: To start this exercise you will need to elevate one leg behind you on something sturdy about 12 to18 inches high. The other leg will then need to be positioned so that your foot will be well in front of you. To initiate this exercise you will need lower your hip straight down towards the floor while maintaining majority of the weight through the heel of the front foot. Lower your hips until your forward leg is bent to 90 degrees and then push yourself straight back up to an upright position. It is important that throughout out the exercise that your knee stays aligned with your heel and that you maintain good posture. Keeping your shoulders back and down while sticking out your chest will help achieve a good posture for this exercise.

What is strengthens: This exercise is a multi-joint exercise which means it use multiple muscle groups to perform this exercise. The primary muscle is the quadriceps. And the secondary muscles are the hip flexors and hamstrings. Since this exercise requires you to hold weight this will also strengthen your core, forearms and shoulders.

Equipment needed: Dumbbells or kettlebells, and a box or step to elevate that rear leg.

Modifications: An easier modification for this exercise is to lower the height of the leg that is being elevated and limit the amount of weight being lifted. This exercise is a very challenging exercise as it is, and the only way to make it more challenging is to increase the weight being used without losing good technique.

Applications: This multi-joint exercise strengthens multiple muscle groups that can be very beneficial for work or leisure related physical activity. This is a challenging exercise that will improve strength and power throughout the lower extremities of the body. Another added benefit to this exercise is that it will work on correcting bad posture throughout the upper extremities of the body.

Windham hockey, alive and well - By Michelle Libby

Hockey is only a few months away and Windham Middle School and High School teams are stepping out on their own for the first time. No longer will they be known as the Western Maine Wings. They will be the Windham Eagles. The high school team will be made up of Windham and Raymond players who attend Windham High School. 

It is not an RSU14 sanctioned sport, however, the athletic department does help with the varsity coach’s salary and with scheduling games. The rest is done by the hockey boosters, which is working through the process to become a 501 C-3. This will allow them to acquire corporate sponsorships and allow tax-free donations. They are hoping for sponsors who want their name associated with different aspects of the game to appearing on merchandise.

The high school team’s agreement with Sacopee Valley expired and now Windham hockey supports RSU14 students. The team practices and plays home games at USM with a 5 a.m. practice ice time slot. Last year they practiced only twice a week, this year the coaches saw the need for additional ice time, which makes up the majority of the team’s budget. 

“It’s the recipe that allows them to be the most competitive. It’s a different approach. They need more ice time to be competitive,” said middle school director Steve Pock. “We’re moving in the right direction when we went from four days to five days.”

Windham High hockey plays teams at their same skill level like Bonny Eagle High School, Gorham High and Lakes Region High School. The team is 15 members and two goalies strong. The middle school team has 25 players.
At the middle school level, the team is a part of the Southern Maine Middle School Hockey League, an independent league not affiliated with the school department, like middle school football, said Pock. The middle school team also accepts players from other communities who do not have a team. The middle school team has fluctuated between having enough to make a team to not enough. This year, they are excited to have full A and B teams as well as volunteer coaches. This year Paul Jacques and Niels Mank will coach the A team. The boosters are still working on finding a B team coach. The middle school team also accepts fifth-graders. 

“Now we’ve built the pipeline for the high school team,” said Pock.
Most of the middle school team plays for other hockey teams so the ice time is reduced at that level. They also play wherever they can get ice time, sometimes it’s as far away as the University of New England in Biddeford.
Hockey is not an inexpensive sport. To run the three teams it costs $26,000. A little over half is supported by the players. For the high school players it costs $1,220 each, but they only have to pay $645. At the middle school level, they pay $200 toward the cost of $350, said Pock, who is also the budget committee director. 

The big expenses in the budget are for ice time and transportation. They also play for referees, game security and trainers. 

The team is attempting to raise money to offset the cost to its athletes, but what they really would like from the community is fan support, said Pock. “Fans physically cheering them on in the stands,” he added. 

Windham hockey is also looking for businesses willing to take sponsorships at tax-deductable rates. 

For more information on the program, visit and Windham High School Eagle Hockey on Facebook.

Giving it all to be an Ironman - By Michelle Libby

It’s not just a triathlon. Not’s not another race. It’s an ironman competition and that means the biggest competition is inside and not the other racers. It’s more than running, more than biking and more than swimming…it’s all three.
“The Ironman is more an individual pursuit. You are racing against a couple other thousand people, but you’re racing against yourself,” said coach and athlete Bob Turner. 

Athletes Jason Leggett, Jason Stokes and Turner are like most athletes when they get together. They share stories, are supportive and they share their successes. Bob Turner coaches Stokes and also runs the Ironman competitions himself. Leggett prefers to workout and compete more on his own. 

They all have competed in Ironman competitions, but do more half-Ironman competitions, which is still a grueling 70.3 miles. 

An Ironman competition consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. For those counting, that’s 140.6 miles total distance. The race is over at midnight whether the athlete finishes or not. There are 25 full Ironman competitions around the world and 12 are in the United States. 

“There are four main distances. The sprint, Olympic triathlon, half Ironman and full Ironman,” said Turner. “Very few will sign up (the first time) and try the full Ironman,” he added.  

“People that do well are the ones who are good at all things,” said Leggett.
“It ebbs and flows through the race. People who are not a superstar in any one of the events do best,” said Turner. 

Ironman competitors think nothing about riding their bikes to South Berwick in the morning and arriving back at home by 11 a.m. All agree that having a flexible job helps with scheduling workouts.

Turner owns his own company Turner Contracting. Stokes owns his own appraisal company and Leggett is in pharmaceutical sales. 

“The fun component of this is people’s reaction,” Turner said. “You get creative with training.” Turner signed up for the Beach 2 Beacon race in Cape Elizabeth this year. He rode his bike there, ran the 10 kilometer race, ran back to his bike at the start of the race, then rode home. That was his workout for the day. “You paint a smile on and pretend it doesn’t hurt,” he said. 

“Pain is all relative,” said Leggett. 

The average yearly salary for an Ironman competitor is $168,000. To sign up for a race is $700 and that doesn’t include airfare, food and accommodations. “You need to have disposable income,” said Turner. 

For Leggett sometimes he wraps a family vacation around a race, other times it’s a family vacation with a race in it, he said. All three men have families and children. Stokes has a 15-year-old and a 1-year-old. Leggett has a 5-year-old and Turner has a 15-year-old. 

Stokes likes when his son is proud of him and brags that “my dad’s an Ironman.” 

It takes an average of 17 hours to complete an Ironman. The longest workout is around six hours, said Turner. They might do a one hour swim and a four hour bike ride. 

“I don’t say ‘impossible’ anymore,” said Stokes. When he started he ran 350 feet to his in-law’s house. The first time he ran two miles away from the house he thought he was having a heart attack with a tight chest, numb fingers and arm pain. 

Stokes is also a cancer survivor. In 2009 he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He was just over six feet tall and weighed 267 pounds. Now he weighs 189. 

“I heard people talk about this crazy race. I generally run if someone’s chasing me,” he said. “I float on my back well.” He couldn’t swim. People would ask him when he was doing his first triathlon and he’d say, “never.”
In May 2010, he did his first du-athlon, which was a run and bike. “I liked the competitive nature of it. I have to see the big picture and have something to strive for,” he said. 

Stokes completed his first Ironman in Lake Placid, New York in 13 hours and 49 minutes this year. 

He began his training in November of 2012 and didn’t stop until July 29.
“He finished with a smile on his face,” said Turner. “He couldn’t swim the length of the pool,” Turner added. His swim took one hour and 32 minutes, but he made up time on other parts of the race. 

“It’s a pretty empowering feeling to do 140 miles self-powered,” said Turner.
Turner, 44, began competitions in 2003, at 210 pounds, when he bought a bike. He ran into a friend who had done triathlons. Turner started doing them and did a sprint and Olympic race that summer. In 2006, he did his first Ironman competition at Lake Placid. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s a healthy pursuit,” he said. “Now I’m Bob Turner the triathlete, not Bob Turner the fat man.”
Turner coaches with E3 Training Solutions. 

It’s an expensive sport, when the bike ranges from $600 to $12,000. “You beg, borrow and steal the equipment the first year,” said Leggett. “Then you’ll get sucked down the rabbit hole. You do have to have a support system,” he said. It can cost over $10,000 to train, gear up and race, said Stokes. 

Leggett, 43, said that most of the Ironman competitors are between the ages of 35 and 44. Most were athletes before. For Leggett, his brother and sister-in-law were into racing. In 2004, he weighed 240 pounds and was a pack-a-day smoker. “They have a division called the Clydesdale for heavier set men and Athena’s for women,” he said. “I’m told myself, I’m going to be the fastest big man in Maine.” He did it for a while, then stopped and gained back the weight he had lost. He set a goal to compete in the Mont-Tremblant full Ironman. “I needed a goal to scare the bejesus out of me,” he said.

Two week ago, Leggett qualified for the world championship Ironman 70.3 to be held in September 2014.  

“This leads to a cleaner eating lifestyle,” said Turner. “The fourth event is nutrition,” he added. “A lot of your work on swim, bike and run can be for not.”
This past weekend the three men all participated in the Revolution3 competition in Old Orchard Beach, an Olympic triathlon meaning they swim 1500 meters, ride 40 kilometers and run 10 kilometers. 

“You don’t need to do an Ironman,” said Leggett. “But you can have a hell of a lot of fun training, traveling and racing.” 

“Once you do an Ironman, an hour and a half work meeting isn’t such a big deal,” Turner said.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kelli's 5K honors the memory of Kelli Hutchison - By Elizabeth Richards

Kelli Hutchison lost her battle with cancer in 2010, when she was 10 years old. Friends, family and parishioners of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church honor and remember her at the annual Kelli’s 5K, a community oriented track and trail run and walk.

The race, originally called the St. Ann’s 5K, began as a way for the church to do community outreach and fundraising, generate interest in the church and give back to the community, said Barney Boynton, co-director of the race. In the second year of the event, Kelli, whose family attends St. Ann’s, had been diagnosed with brain cancer. The proceeds that year were donated to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program in honor of Kelli, said her mother, Melissa.

Boynton said that after Kelli’s diagnosis, The Hutchisons participated in the 5K, all sporting “Team Kelli” t-shirts. When Kelli lost her battle against the cancer, Boynton said, it was crushing to the community, her family and friends. To honor her memory, the race was renamed Kelli’s 5K. Fundraising efforts had begun to build the Kelli Hutchison Memorial Playground at St. Ann’s, he said, and the money raised at the race that year contributed to that fund.

That year, new Team Kelli t-shirts were printed, a tradition that has carried on, evolving this year into a t-shirt design contest won by 11-year-old Vacation Bible School participant Maeve Higgins. This year’s t-shirt design incorporated ladybugs, the “unofficial theme” of the playground, said Boynton, due to some popular bouncing ladybugs.

Kelli’s family participates in the event each year, and chooses the charity that will benefit from the proceeds. This year, the approximately $3,000 raised will be split between maintenance of the Kelli Hutchison Memorial Playground, the Windham Primary School Playground Fund and St. Ann’s capital campaign.
Melissa said that the event is very special to her. Every year, she said, she wants to say something to the crowd, but it’s still difficult emotionally to do so. But each year gets easier, too, she said. “Last year I found myself speaking to more and more people that were there, and it was still hard. I’d still tear up. But in a way, it’s helpful and I know it’s emotional to them, too,” she said. The event helps keep Kelli alive in a way, she said. “It’s very touching that people still remember her, and still want to do this in her memory. It touches my heart every time I go by that playground where I see kids playing. It thrills me, and I know it would thrill Kelli,” she said.

This year, the Kelli 5K was held on Saturday, August 17, a beautiful summer day perfect for running or walking. The race is intentionally low key, said Boynton. They try to make the event very down home, a throwback to simpler races. An average of 100 people between the run and the walk is typical, and meets their goal of keeping it smaller and more family-oriented, Boynton said. The registration fee is also low, just $15 per person. And to make it easier for families who may want to participate together but can’t afford the fee for a larger family, any Windham student, and any teenager or child who is a parishioner at St. Ann’s can participate for free.

This year, 62 runners and walkers pre-registered, and several more entered on the day of the event. A comfortable, close knit community feel permeated the event, with children and adults laughing, talking and cheering each other on. This race is more about community than winning. It’s a day for friends and family to come together to remember the brave and vibrant little girl, and have a lot of fun. That makes it an event Kelli would have loved, said her father Mike. “Kelli was the kind of kid who was all about the fun,” he said, and she was always in the middle of activity, he added. He said it’s an honor to the family to have this event held in her memory. “The event represents Kelli extremely well. It’s a day she would be thrilled with,” he said.
The event began with Boynton and Cushing explaining the routes for both runners and walkers. Father Tim Higgins, the reverend at St. Ann’s, thanked everyone for coming out and asked people to take a silent moment to remember a time spent with Kelli. Then, the runners were off, doing a lap and a half around the track before exiting for the trails. When the runners had cleared the track, the walkers began with one lap around before heading off to make three loops around the High School campus.

Though the race isn’t focused on winning, it is a timed race, and there was an awards ceremony at the end with trophies for the adult male and female winners, Betty Reez gourmet whoopee pies. The awards ceremony began with a thank you to the event sponsors, followed by the announcement of winners. The top adult male runner was Josh Zolla, with a time of 17:29. The top adult female was Reegan Brown, with a time of 24:13. In the teen categories, the top male was Ben Breton, with a time of 20:21 and the top female was Anna Foster with a time of 24:27. A series of raffle drawings gave participants a chance at winning a variety of prizes. Finally, a lighthearted auction was held for one dozen of the tempting whoopee pie treats, with the winning bid raising an additional $100 for the event.

9/10-year-old Windham All-Star Baseball - By Michelle Libby

The 9/10-year-old Windham all-star baseball team competed in Cranston, RI in the New England Regional Little League Tournament and although they didn’t win, they showed the other teams what being from Maine was all about.

“Maine is probably the most fun team,” said team mom Shelly Afthim. When the announcer played Cotton-Eye Joe the team from Maine stood and danced. Afthim said they started playing the song first at every game. At the final banquet, the announcer invited the Maine team and their siblings to the front of the room to dance. The team was Brady Afthim, Brady Bowen, Harrison Boyle, Nick Garrison, Dylan Gorman, Quinton Hastings, Cameron Joyce, Nolan Kent, Caleb McCartney, Drew Mathieu and Jarek Mead.

“We couldn’t be prouder. They were having fun and enjoying every minute,” Afthim said.

Although the team lost all four of their games, the “kids were in it the entire time,” Afthim said. In three of the games they only lost by two runs, said coach Paul Kent. Kent was assisted by Jim McCartney and Chris Gorman.

Eleven boys and their families travelled to Rhode Island as well as grandparents and local residents. One of the Little League board members also brought his family down to watch the games.

“The kids were treated like kings,” said Kent.

The trip to Rhode Island was paid for by generous donations by businesses and private citizens in Windham. In six days, they raised $18,000.

The team had to play 11 games to be crowned State champions, which they did remaining undefeated in district play. Then at the state level, they played seven teams.

“They had to do a lot of good things along the way,” said Kent. “There’s only been one Windham team that’s had such success and that was in 2000.”

PNF's Exercise of the Week - Plank with alternating shoulder taps

How to: Start on the ground with feet and hands shoulder width apart. Head and neck are neutral, back is flat, core is contracted, shoulder blades are retracted (ensuring stability in the joint), and hips are square with the ground. Take one hand off the ground and touch it to the opposite shoulder, without allowing the rest of the body to move. 

What it strengthens: Primary muscles are the core musculature, deltoids (shoulder), and triceps. Secondary muscles are the pectorals (chest) and hip flexors.

Equipment needed: There is no equipment required to perform this exercise.

Modifications: An easier modification would be to put the knees on the ground or position the feet wider. To make this exercise more challenging, try putting the feet closer together, wearing a weighted vest or placing the feet on an unstable surface such as an AirDex pad or a disk.

Applications: Increasing core strength is very important and useful for making any physical task easier. Posture, form, and power all start with having a strong core. This exercise, in particular, improves the "anti-rotational" capabilities of the core musculature, meaning that it will be able to resist excessive or unwanted rotation through the trunk. Keeping the body in better alignment and decreasing the risk of injury, especially injuries to the back.