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Visiting True Runner at The Square in Chestnut Hill is a lesson in modern day technology and an experience in high level customer service. As the gait analysis is explained and the video of you running on the in-store treadmill is analyzed using the Coaches Eye, you realize you’ve gone to the next level of the running shoe selection process. Gone are the days of scanning a wall of sneakers and choosing a model based on color or a friendly recommendation because they were comfortable for them! Nowadays, as we enter a running store, we expect a knowledgeable and intuitive expert who demonstrates a systematic method of choosing the perfect sneaker, which appears to be customized just for you. The Chestnut Hill staff exceeds this expectation and delivers an honest and unique customer experience not to be missed.

Get Out and Play.

Originally Posted on April 18, 2014–www.06880danwoog.com

In light of Boston and all that surrounds the amazing stories of perseverance and overcoming all obstacles, comes this story of Jean Paul Desrosiers’ recent finish (302/1,110), of the “Toughest Foot Race On Earth”, Marathon des Sables.

This is getting ridiculous.

First, “06880″ reported on David Friezo’s attempt to raise $500,000 for cancer victims by running a marathon at the North Pole.

Then it was Yaacov Mutnikas, who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean – and set a world record in the process.

I hope you are sitting down for this next one — though Jean Paul Desrosiers certainly was not.

The owner of Westport’s Sherpa Fitness Center has just returned from Morocco. He competed in the Marathon des Sables — only “the toughest footrace on earth,” according to the Discovery Channel.

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How tough?

Desrosiers ran — no, raced — 156 miles in 5 days. That’s the equivalent of 6 marathons.

He did it across 10-story-high sand dunes, in temperature reaching 130 degrees.

While carrying all his food and a sleeping bag on his back.

I’m exhausted just typing that.

“I’ve always been an outdoor enthusiast,” the 39-year-old Weston resident says. “I like to push boundaries. I believe life happens on the edges of your comfort zone.”

That philosophy has made Sherpa Fitness — on the Post Road, across from Athletic Shoe Factory — a very popular gym (among a certain type of clientele, to be sure). Its tagline is “Move Your Boundaries.”

Jean Paul Desrosiers looks like a normal human being. But he is not.
It’s also the philosophy that saw Desrosiers through 6 years in the Marine Corps, starting at age 19, and propelled him later into college as an exercise science major, a career as a semi-pro cyclist, and helped him run 4 marathons and 1 ultramarathon.

But the Marathon des Sables is an ultra-uber-unbelievable marathon.

Desrosiers did the entire race on just 17,000 calories. Carrying all his gear, every ounce was important. He used dehydrated food — and then repackaged it in vacuum bags. Shaving a few grams here and there could end up saving a full pound. Running 156 miles over sand, rocks and gravel — there were no asphalt roads — every ounce counts.

Desrosiers did bring 100 salt tablets. They were key to keeping his electrolytes up. Race organizers provided water — but not a lot. And it wasn’t even quenching. “Hot and dry,” Desrosiers calls it.

He began training in October. But when winter came, the Polar Vortex hit. Not exactly the best way to prepare for a desert that’s 110 in the shade.

So Desrosiers stuffed a backpack with 28 pounds of rock salt, and hit the treadmill. As he got stronger, he ran with the pack on roads.

When the race drew nearer, he turned the heat in a Sherpa room up to 90, added a space heater, and rode a stationary bike for 90 minutes. “It helped, but it wasn’t perfect,” he says.

He also ran on Sherwood Island. The snow helped him practice his footing on difficult terrain.

Jean Paul Desrosiers, pausing very briefly in Morocco.
Once in Africa, reality hit quickly. There was brutal heat, dry air, strong wind, and the biggest dunes Desrosiers had ever seen. And, with 1100 runners in such soft sand, it took a long time to get through.

As difficult as the physical race was — and boy, does it sound daunting — the emotional part was equally tough.

“You can’t prepare fully for the reality of knowing you have to survive with just what you’ve got,” he notes.

Still, he adds, “If I’d never done anything before, I wouldn’t have believed I could do this. You can’t start 12th grade without having gone through 1st grade.”

Desrosiers trusted in his ability to adapt. The human body, he says, is “pretty dynamic.” But the overwhelmingness of new stimuli shattered even some hardened competitors. Day after day, many racers dropped out.

Day after day too, the pack got lighter — and Desorsiers lost weight. But the temperature did not drop. His feet blistered. Fatigue set in.

What kept him moving were emails from home. Each night, race organizers handed printouts to the racers. Knowing people in Westport were thinking of him “made more difference than any food or drink,” Desrosiers says.

He did not expect to win. But each day he finished in the top third. He was sick on Day 4 — the double marathon, or more than 50 miles — but the next day he clocked in at 5:20, good for the top 200.

A scene from the 2013 Marathon des Sables.
Desrosiers completed the entire 156 miles at #303. “I was surprised,” he says, using the same tone I would to describe a movie that was better than I expected.

The end affected him, though. He’d expended enormous physical and emotional energy. He was exhausted, dehydrated, overheated and blistered. His back was marked, where his pack dug in.

Then Desrosiers crossed the finish line, and it was all over.

No one was there to congratulate him. He ended the race as he’d begun it: alone.

Desrosiers walked to his tent, dropped his gear off, and headed to the medical area to get his feet looked at. Then he returned to the finish line, to watch the others straggle in.

Jean Paul Desrosiers earned this — the very hard way.
When we talked earlier this week, he’d been home only a couple of days. Besides his girlfriend, he had not talked about the experience with anyone.

“You learn a lot about yourself when you’re uncomfortable,” Desrosiers says. “You persevere, you look forward, you’re happy you got through it.

“This is not a carnival. It’s hell.”

Back in Westport, he’s not sure what his next challenge is. Right now, he’s happy to focus on Sherpa.

But, he notes, “I’m fitter, I’m stronger, I’m lighter. Hopefully, I can inspire people to do things they didn’t think they could do.”

Even if they’re not things you or I would have believed were humanly possible.

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Tragedy to Triumph

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This time of year conjures up many feelings, some of which may include inspiration, community, and this year in particular, triumph. For those of you running in the 2014 edition of the Boston Marathon, I join the millions around the world who will applaud you every step of the way.

Having coached the Boston Children’s Hospital Marathon Team, and many other finishers of this event, I have been humbled and inspired by the determination and perseverance of those runners completing this historical and challenging course. As marathon courses go, Boston is considered one of the toughest. Surprisingly, the challenge begins immediately, right up until mile 17. When examining the course profile, you will notice it’s downhill for more than half the race!

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Of the five World Marathon Majors (Boston, London, New York, Berlin and Chicago), Boston has the greatest elevation change, a difference of 450 feet from start to finish. The pounding your legs take up to that point is tremendous. Then, THE TURN. The right hand turn, past the Newton Fire Station and onto Commonwealth Avenue, sets the stage for the hills that are legendary among marathon lore. From mile 17-22, it’s a series of victories and periods of absolute suffering, as runners drag their bodies over the hills of Newton and eventually are dumped out onto Beacon Street, following the run through Cleveland Circle. The punishment some runners endure in conquering this 26.2 mile course is mind blowing. However, with that being said, I will venture to predict, this years’ edition of the Boston Marathon will undoubtedly be the year we will see the highest percentage of overall finishers.

For every runner of the Boston Marathon, there are tens of thousands of spectators who encourage, motivate and push each of them to cross the line with their arms raised high. In 2013, some of those spectators were permanently affected by the tragic events on Marathon Monday. One of those spectators was Roseann Sdoia. As her Personal Trainer for the past 7 years, we previously discussed the possibility of her competing in her first triathlon during the Summer of 2013. The possibility was forever shattered in the minutes following the first blast that day.

As the United States Marine Corps mantra states, Adapt and Overcome has become an attitude encompassing the events of April 15, 2013. Roseann has shown tremendous strength, both physically and mentally, as well as an undeniable will to get back to running. Her never-give-up mentality is an example of her ability to adapt to life altering circumstances and the iron will to overcome the fate that she now owns. I am fortunate and privileged to be one of many coaches, Physical Therapists, and Doctors who are contributing to her full recovery.

There is something about lacing up a pair of sneakers and walking out your front door and going for a run, no matter how long the distance. The simplicity of it all screams FREEDOM, and awaken feelings of joy and peace for many. Boston is a hotbed for runners, with running clubs, running events and even running stores named after an iconic Boston Marathon winner. If you happened to be in Boston during the 2014 Boston Marathon, join in the applause and cheer on these athletes. When each runner crosses the finish line, there will be millions applauding along with you, right up until the very last racer. We are free. We are Boston Strong.

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Winter is here in the Northeast and it’s fair to say health clubs will be inundated with requests for new memberships. While your New Year’s resolution may be weighing heavily on your mind, the thought of getting fit has no doubt been considered many times before. Joining a health club or personal training studio may have even been tried, and you may have been successful in the past.

When committing to better health in the New Year, the fundamental inspiration will come from establishing a measurable result or GOAL!. Goals can be a tremendous motivator or be perceived as daunting and too much to bear. Motivation to join a health club includes the general idea of getting in better shape. The level of success you had or will have, becomes the motivation to continue going or quitting. When a glimpse of improved health, fitness, endurance and energy is realized from consistently putting time into a workout program, the level of motivation and confidence increases. Unfortunately, the converse is also true.

📌The takeaway is this: Design short term, Measurable Goals, supported by lifestyle modification behaviors, that will last. By incorporating lifestyle changes that pertain specifically to your goals, long-term change in health related behavior and improved overall fitness will become habit.

While the gym this New Year seems like the easiest outlet to a workout, also consider getting outdoors. Whatever your goal is, a peaceful snowshoe, cross-country ski lesson and outing, or a hike and ski adventure, to name a few options, will surely provide great outdoor experiences. Improved health and fitness unlocks a plethora of dynamic activities. Have fun trying something new or getting back to activities you love. Lastly, always remember to celebrate your successes!

Get Out and Play.

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The 2 hour drive (normally 1.25 hours) from Boston in high heat, traffic, and road construction may sound like an absolute nightmare of a day. However, when I finally arrived at Cape Cod Sea Sports in Hyannis, MA and met Jeff Craddock and his mechanic Dusty, I was impressed with the selection of high-end road bikes right alongside a variety of great kayaks for sale and for rent as well as all the scuba gear you could possibly need to complete your quest for the remaining treasures of the Poseidon.

I made the drive to Hyannis for one specific reason. I was there to pick up my newly purchased Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi-Mod road bike. When Dusty brought it up from the repair shop, I swear the lights went dim in the place and a spotlight shone on this machine as he brought it over. Between the light weight frame, Dura Ace component group and white Fiz’ik saddle, there is no criticism of this masterful work of art. The only thing I could possibly see as being improved upon is the wheelset. The Team version of this bike comes with the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR wheelset, which increases the price point slightly over $10,300. The Mavic SLS wheels included on this non-team version are more than adequate. As Jeff was explaining the details of the bike, he explained these wheels are stiff, reliable and relatively maintenance free, which I enjoy immensely. Never a mechanic, I’ve always relished less maintenance and repairs, the more I ride, the better off I am. Period.

All in all a great experience to shop at Cape Cod Sea Sports. Jeff and his staff really know how to create a great purchasing experience. Dusty is one of the best mechanics I’ve seen and his attention to detail in assembling this bike and adjustments made at delivery were appreciated. All this and not to mention this machine handles like a rocket ship! It’s a point and shoot type of ride. Pedaling is effortless and it accelerates like nothing I’ve ever ridden.

Get Out and Play.

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With violence around the world glamorized with such frequency, I often wonder how the future will look for generations to come. Guns, gangs, domestic and child abuse, random assaults, and vandalism have made major headlines. The majority of these occurrences of violence and vandalism have been committed in inner cities.

I am inspired by individuals and communities who make the tremendous effort to pull themselves out of very depressing situations, where hope would seem bleak. Recently, there has been a focus on inner city outdoor recreation programs for kids to experience nature and adventure in a safe and informative way. A commitment to provide an accessible outlet to youth in inner cities would be a huge step forward in addressing violence and vandalism.

Through support via outdoor apparel and gear companies, service providers and other industry organizations, it is possible to produce the resources that would begin to engage parents and educators. To promote a lifestyle option different from what some have come to know as permanent, would be transformative in many urban neighborhoods.To be clear, this would
not solve any problem, but rather give a healthier option to express their individuality and freedom through participation in an active lifestyle.

Get Out and Play.

Connecticut Challenge

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As the Spring draws on and we are all looking forward to the warmer weather in New England, a cycling event comes to mind. The Connecticut Challenge, located in Westport, CT, is a challenging one or two day course that is sure to challenge the fittest riders.

As a participant last year, I can attest to the challenging course, great support and exceptional cause. The cause is the main point here, as we all know of someone stricken with cancer. The CT Challenge is a support vehicle for those who have recovered from this disease and looking to get back into action. Seeing the Champions who have endured the treatments and have rallied their friends, families and neighbors to participate is most humbling. At the staging for the start of the event, names of the riders who have beaten cancer are called to the front of the field to lead the group out onto the course. A very powerful way to begin such a great event.

The support at designated stops was filled with plenty of water, some food, and a cluster of mechanics to make any adjustments necessary. All support personnel was friendly, helpful and informative. Having participated in many cycling and non-profit events in past years, upbeat and helpful volunteers can make or break an event. Clearly the organizers got it right with this group.

July 26 (start of two day) and July 27 are the dates to mark in your calendar. Training begins now for all ride options. Contact Jean at Sherpa, located in Westport, CT for group rides that will mimic the course, provide strength training programs for cycling and recommend a protocol for recovery after rides.
Hope to see you in July ready to go!

Get Out and Play.

Ideal Health Resource

There are many extremes in the New England region, but two in particular stand out. The weather and the number of high quality endurance athletes and enthusiasts. In my experience as a personal trainer, most of the athletes I have trained look for the performance edge in the off season and during their pre-season. When Springtime months begin to fully show their colors (pun intended), the opportunity for a productive, high quality workout is plenty. Whether you are competing or enjoying activities with friends and family, New England, with its varied terrain, has something for all abilities.

Some activities that include strength building, flexibility training and developing mental toughness for those long days in the saddle, on the trail, or whatever else you chose to endure, are listed below. Here are a few activities and outdoor recreation retailers and service providers that will get you outside and enjoying all the Northeast has to offer.

Rock Climbing

There are several options, however my favorite is Rock Spot Climbing, located in Boston, Lincoln, RI and Peace Dale, RI. The routes are challenging and the staff is great for instruction for adults and children. During Summer months, children are frequently looking for activities to blow off some steam. Rock climbing, either in the gym or outside on location, is one of the best options for kids. Aside from developing great strength and flexibility, it also develops problem solving and strategy techniques. Overall, a great option for families, as well as those looking for increased strength throughout their entire bodies in preparation for the season ahead

Hiking and Cycling

Wachusett Mountain is just an hour from Boston and has a challenging network of trails that can be hiked for several hours of training. It’s good to get there early on a weekend, especially if the weather is good because parking qt the visitors center is limited. The trails can be hiked or, if you’re feeling as though you need a bit more of a challenge, trail running is a good option. When you get to the top, be sure to check the views that include Mount Monadnock to the north, Mount Greylock to the west, southern Vermont to the northwest and Boston to the east.

In addition to hiking and trail running at Wachusett Mountain, the surrounding towns of Princeton, Westminster, and West Boylston offer very challenging road cycling. These areas surrounding the mountain make up the jewel stage for one of the most challenging cycling road races in the Northeast, the Longsjo Classic. Be sure to bring your fitness and your best riding legs!

Get Out and Play.

 

 

 

New Vendors

Alpine Endeavors, located in New Paltz, NY is the premier rock and ice climbing guide service in the Northeast. Headed by Director, Marty Molitaris, the guides at AE are experienced, professional and extremely knowledgeable. Located just outside of “The Gunks“, AE delivers some of the best routes and scenery around. As a member of Ideal Health Resource, you’ll receive a 10% discount on all guided trips. After you get back from a day(s) climbing, be sure to use your additional discount of 15% at Rock and Snow. Spring time is here, so book your trips with Alpine Endeavors and be sure to ask for Marty!

Sherpa is located in Westport, CT and is the best example of a state of the art, results oriented training facility available. With personnel that rivals any professional team’s strength training staff, Sherpa prides itself on getting results with clients consistently, safely and without excuses. This is clear as soon as you enter the studio. With zero “fixed motion” machines like you would see at your everyday health club, Sherpa has medicine balls, bands, dumbells and only the necessary pieces of cardiovascular pieces. With these functional tools, the trainers get every ounce of effort from their clients.
Oh, and at your first workout, be sure to bring your road bike. The cycling studio alone is worth your training package! The studio is setup with 8 Computrainers, all facing a large screen where you will find your stats such as power output, speed, distance, % gradient, and more. This cycling studio provides the most technologically advanced cycling class in Fairfield County.
Lastly, following your workout, head through another set of doors and enjoy your recovery in the Recovery Lounge. Sherpa’s owner, Jean Desrosiers, will show you how to get the most out of the dynamic compression system . This system is the only one in Connecticut and has been used by professional athletes to aid in performance by allowing athletes to train hard multiple days in a row.

Get Out and Play.

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Customer Launch

After several years of sorting out and sorting through, Ideal Health Resource customer launch is within reach. As part of the rollout, May 22, 2013, we will be offering select deals on vendor products and services to the first 200 people who sign up online http://www.idealhealthresource.com.

The vendor network will be increasing daily, so check our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IdealHealthRes?ref=hl for the newest vendors added. And while you’re there, Like us! By doing this, you’ll see the newest vendors in your news feed. Also, if you know of a fantastic health and wellness company you would like to see on our list, please let us know via Facebook, Twitter @idealhealthrsrc, or email. We will get back to you and follow up.

We’re excited for the opening and looking forward to seeing you all at various Ideal Health Resource affiliated retail locations and service providers across the country!

Get Out and Play.

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