Conditioning

#TimPageFitForLife Interview III, Michael McAuley - Benefits of Physical Fitness

"We should be preparing our bodies for what life throws at you."

  ~ Mike McAuley

This third #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Michael McAuley.

Michael graduated from the University of Ulster in Sports Coaching.  A creative and effective entrepreneur, he is Owner of EXSTO Fitness & Fitness Trainer at EXSTO Gym.

Michael, Fitness Trainer to Ruth and myself for 18 months, talks about the 'massive' health benefits of fitness including the physical, mental, emotional and occupational aspects of our lives.

Michael sees one of his aims as to "try and just get people moving", citing the American Heart Association as one of thousands of resources available on the web.

 

Thank you to Michael for getting me moving.  After 18 months, I'm the strongest and fittest that I've ever been ... I can recommend him as a Fitness Trainer who can help prepare his clients for what life may throw at them.  Thanks also to Andy Magowan, cameraman for this interview, who's up next in our fourth interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed them, previous interviews were with

  • Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist - Overview of Blood Cancers
  • Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist - Physical Fitness for Patients

Next week, a further three interviews will be posted:

  • Andy Magowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


#TimPageFitForLife Interview II, Laura Croan - Physical Fitness for Patients

The second #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Lymphoma, based in Belfast City Hospital.

Laura's post is funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre, doing great work - caring for patients, providing various resources for the Cancer Centre and also funding research.

I received help from 'Friends' in 2008 & 2013.  Also, in 1985, during a month of radiotherapy at Belvoir Park Hospital, I recall the kindness of the "Friends of Montgomery House" volunteers.  The charity changed its name in 2006 when services moved to the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Here's a Belfast Live article on the occasion of Laura's appointment.

Laura speaks about the benefits of physical fitness for patients.  If the patient's condition permits, quality of life can be improved with potential benefits of increased muscle strength, energy, sleep & self-esteem - potentially resulting in less fatigue from both disease and treatment.

The academic papers that Laura mentions are listed here.

Thanks to Laura for providing these references and also for being camerawoman during the interview with Dr. Drake.  And thank you to David Speers, BT Apprentice, for being cameraman for this interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed it, the previous interview with Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist is here

In the next interview, to be published on Friday, Michael McAuley, Owner of Exsto Fitness & Personal Trainer discusses the many benefits of fitness for life.

Next week, the remaining interviews will be posted:

  • Andy MaGowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


Armagh - 30 July - 15 of 22

Well, what a week that was.

An exciting week in BT work, supporting the launch of BT Sport On EE:

Mid-week, I resumed running, thanks to benefits of an ongoing physio programme

Then, on Thursday, NI's Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) Belfast Marathon runners and Office team handed over £621 to LLNI.

TimPageFitForLife-RQIA

#TimPageFitForLife exceeded double the £5000 target for LLNI donations, with £10028 raised to date for vital research, in the same week that LLNI's Joanne Badger handed me the recent NI Institute of Fundraising nomination. 

TimPageFitForLife-BWFVY

I completed the Armagh run yesterday, with great support from BT colleagues and friends.

Armagh is a particularly beautiful course - a mix of hilly parkland and woodland.

There was a sense of close local community amongst the runners - I guess the 'further out' parkruns, not close to many other runs, tend to have a more constant attendance.

Thanks to Run Director Mark Lundy for the warm welcome.

Armagh-D

It was great to have work colleagues Liz Leckey and Brenda Hilley along on their first parkrun.
I really appreciated BT colleague & runner Gavin McBride's pace-setting.  We alternated between 3 minutes running and 30 seconds walk.  Perhaps it was due to Gavin's guidance that I headed home with no muscle pain and hopeful for a straight run ahead through the remaining 7 venues.

Armagh photo album is here, thanks to Sarah Irwin for the amazing cake!

Armagh-Q

Next week, we're at Cookstown

Through August & September, as well as running and fund-raising, we'll be

  1. Working with DKMS to drive up the number of prospective stem cell donors, and,
  2. Producing video interviews about the role of fitness, medical care and research in preventing and treating blood cancers

As the final two months of our #TimPageFitForLife project start tomorrow... ideas, offers of support & publicity, donations and questions for the video interviews are all very welcome.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £10,028

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 23

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%


Citypark - 9 July - 14 of 22

The Citypark course - one lap around the Craigavon lakes - is very scenic.  Today's weather was less pleasant - the heaviest rain of the 14 parkruns to date - but that brings its own refreshing quality.

Citypark-B

Thanks to friends and colleagues who came along today - Patricia McAuley, Heather Chestnutt and BT colleagues Nick Orr & Sabina O'Hagan.  

My running mentor Mark Crothers said in January, when I decided to run 22 parkruns for LLNI, that this would be a significant challenge, given the sustained conditioning training as well as the parkruns.  By #14 of the 22 Saturdays, I realise that he was right.  Last week at Carrickfergus and this week at Citypark Craigavon have been tricky due to calf muscle and now upper back twinges. 

My objective, as last week, was to get around the course with zero damage.  Sarah Irwin, daughter of old friends Ivan & Joan Thompson, came along today and, as she said,

"Any run is better than no run."

In my Antrim run report two weeks ago, I mentioned a health query.  For some cancer survivors, the occasional medical scare is unsettling but familiar territory, and I've had a few over the years.  So, it was a relief this week when the hospital rang to say recent neck lymph node biopsy was clear.  Phew.

Early today on BBC Radio, there was an item about the 1984 Olympics Women's Marathon - the first time this event was held.  One runner was Gabriela Andersen-Schiess, her final six miles a major challenge, as this video shows.  

Today's run was difficult due to the leg issues so I was trailing.  Today's parkrun volunteer 'tail runners', bringing up the rear with me, were Joe McAnearney & Niall Rankin.  Niall and I spoke about the role of determination in pushing through life's challenges.

This afternoon, getting home after an uncomfortable but beneficial sports massage, I googled more on Gabriela Andersen-Schiess.  She finished the race in 44th place despite being in great physiological distress.  In an interview years later she said

"I got to the finish line.

Looking back, with time, I can see that people kinda identify with you, because they see the struggle, and they see that, if you really set your mind to it, you can overcome a lot of obstacles.

And it teaches you a lesson too that, besides overcoming obstacles, you have to get over some bad experiences, and not dwell on it and just look forward and learn something - hopefully learn something from it."

Every Saturday I see many people get to the parkrun finish line.  Further, I didn't realise when starting this project, that I'd meet a range of people from different backgrounds with stories of challenge, struggle, celebration and resilience.  Thanks again to parkrun and hundreds of volunteers each Saturday who enable this experience of promoting well-being, community spirit and mutual support.

This week's album is here.

Looking forward next week's run #15 (!) at Derry.

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £9168

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 19

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%


My Story for God's Glory - Carnalea Methodist Family Service 30-May-2016

Carnalea Methodist Church 29-May-2016 – Family Service

Perseverance – “Keep on keeping on”

Readings

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

“My Story for God’s Glory” – Tim Page

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians about “running the race”, he was talking about the “Isthmian Games”.  From 582 BC to about 400 AD, these games happened every two years at Corinth, on the land bridge – or isthmus – in Greece where Corinth is located.   Events included chariot racing, wrestling, music & poetry – which women were allowed to compete in, and running.  The prize for each winner was a crown, of pine leaves or ivy, and massive prestige.

Entering the games was a big commitment – ten months training and then, maybe, you’d get selected to play.

At Sullivan school in Holywood, around 1980, I was the least sporty Sixth Former in my year.  Computers were just appearing in schools and I was abIe to dodge rugby, hockey and athletics by helpfully offering to support teachers learn about the computers arriving in their classrooms.  Looking back, this was a mistake since I stayed unfit.  I’ve done some sport on-and-off since.  However, after serious illness and a stem cell transplant in 2013, and months in a hospital bed, I deeply appreciated regaining the mobility and freedom that rehabilitation brought.  I now see that I have a responsibility to do what I can to stay well.  So I decided to do a 5k run, and achieved this goal at Victoria parkrun last November.  This personal breakthrough was such a positive experience that I then decided to run all of Northern Ireland’s 22 Saturday morning parkruns in support of two charities… 

  • Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI that does cellular-level research at Queen’s
    and also
  • Global charity DKMS, which signs up prospective stem cell donors, potentially a life-saving act

So far, we have promoted both charities, raised £8800, signed up 62 people as potential stem cell donors, and encouraged 10 people to run their first parkrun.

I have learnt some lessons about striving for a specific aim.   On this running project, I have to:

  1. Keep my aim in mind, organising my life around where I want to get to
  2. Train and strengthen my self – body and mind – to be able to succeed
  3. Be connected to a network of people for mutual encouragement and support

Reaching my goal of running 22 parkruns this year means saying ‘Yes’ to a few things and saying ‘No’ to lots of things.  As Gandalf says to Frodo,

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I made another decision when I was 12 years old, choosing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And, I have a very, very long way to go.  Right now, in fact, my running life is better organised than my faith life!  What I can offer, though, is a question arising from our Corinthians reading that I’m currently asking myself –

“How can I live my life so that I’m not running aimlessly but, rather, walking through life with Jesus Christ, living in the world as He wants?”

Paul talks about competitors being in ‘strict training’.  As a regular runner, I have committed to a regime of conditioning training – to get fitter, stronger, leaner and faster while avoiding injury and improving my 5k PB – Personal Best.

Leading up to each week’s Saturday run, this involves two 1:1 training sessions with my personal trainer, two conditioning runs, and a somewhat painful sports massage to unknot my muscles.  If you’re curious – you can see some videos of this training on the TimPageFitForLife blog.  There’s a particularly entertaining clip where I use ‘Battle ropes’ to drag a heavy metal “Prowler” device around the gym.  Tough stuff.

If a pattern of behaviours is necessary to build physical condition, then there will be some areas we can work at in our faith life.  In our Carnalea Family Services, we try to offer something to everyone, whatever milestone you’re at as you run the race.  So, in a few minutes, we’ll sing a beautiful hymn, know to the older generations represented today, “May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day-to-day.”

First, though, as a computing enthusiast and electronically well-connected guy!, some practical ideas to young people starting the race – for your own pattern of personal training … your practice of spirituality through your life to keep fit for the race you’re on.

Using words from the hymn,

“May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day-to-day”
A phone app like PrayerMate can be helpful in organising people and topics to pray about

“May the Word of God dwell richly In my heart from hour to hour”
The Bible App is great.  It includes audio readings of The Message, and reading plans where you tick off each day.  Nicky and Pippa Gumbel’s 'Bible-In-One-Year' is a helpful resource.

“May the love of Jesus fill me As the waters fill the sea”
Of course, developing a lifelong spiritual practice is not merely about apps.

In 2008 Elizabeth Porter took me to a Service of Healing led by Rev David Jardine.  Each time I have gone to this service over the years, it has been helpful.  He spoke about how we respond to the poor, including the person that we see sitting on the street.  He said that to ignore people made in God’s image wasn’t good.  So, be open to the prompting of God’s Spirit about responding to poor people you come across throughout your life – a £1 coin, or a sandwich & drink from a shop, or a smile and ‘Hello’ are some options.

One other thing – Jesus built into his life times of getting away from the crowd to be still and listen to God.  Wherever you are on your race, consider planning in time to get away from the crowd, and away from the Internet, to 'Be still' and know that God is God.

So. As you work out your Spiritual Practice,

“May the love of Jesus fill you.”

Focus on your aim – following Jesus Christ – and organise your life around that aim

 

Finally, I have learnt the importance of the gift of encouragement in being able to persevere and keep running.

I wasn’t looking forward to Saturday’s run at Limavady.

I didn’t know anyone at Limavady.

Also, the Limavady parkrun website showed the slowest runner’s time as under 34 minutes, whereas I average in the high thirties.

Further, we were having some press coverage for World Blood Cancer Day.

And, while Ruth comes with me to all the parkruns as “Professional Supporter”, this week she had to pick up our son from the airport instead.

I set out alone and, overall, felt a bit exposed.

At every race I’ve had an experienced runner to set the pace – it was great to have BT colleague John Kelly running alongside me.   I tend to drop my head as I run, which restricts breathing but John kept encouraging me ... “Head up!”

Limavady is a beautiful course of 3 laps.  Finishing my second lap, most of the runners had already finished the race, and were getting ready to head to the nearby Leisure Centre for coffee.

One parkrun volunteer said “Do you mind if they run with you?”

“No problem – please do.”, I said.

Immediately, behind me, materialised a posse of experienced runners, encouraging with their good humour.

Heading up the final incline, my legs really wanted to stop.  I would have stopped for a few seconds, as in previous races, but the encouragement, energy, positivity, momentum and sheer human goodness behind me powered me on.  Without a break, I finished the course.

Limavady parkrun volunteers 28-May-2016

My phone battery died before the results were available, so I left Limavady not knowing my run time.  When I got home, Ruth met me at the door.  “Fastest run yet!” Ruth said – a new Personal Best of 35 minutes, 42 seconds.  I got a kiss!

The guidance and support of people around me, combined with my own focus and training, enabled that personal best.  I have learnt that encouragement can improve physiological and psychological performance.

As you run through this life, be mindful of the example of those who have run the race already.  And remain open to support offered from the people running alongside you.  Recently, Ruth and I thought of the influence on our lives of the late Reverend Cecil Newell, formerly here at Carnalea.  We fondly remember Cecil’s support and visits when I was ill in 2008 - his character, his teaching and example.  When life is otherwise discouraging, such a man’s witness helps us both think “yes, there is something to all of this”.  

I can nearly hear Cecil saying

“Head up!”

 To conclude.  

We get one go at this race. 

Focus on Jesus Christ – consider Him.  He is our Friend and Brother, alongside us for the race.

Work at your Spiritual Practice – your conditioning training for the race you’re on.

And, in following Him through your life, go after your Personal Best, supporting others along their way with words of encouragement, and showing up practically for people when you can.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”

 

Hymn

May the mind of Christ, my Saviour,

Live in me from day to day,

By His love and power controlling

All I do and say.

 

May the Word of God dwell richly

In my heart from hour to hour,

So that all may see I triumph

Only through His power.

 

May the peace of God my Father

Rule my life in everything,

That I may be calm to comfort

Sick and sorrowing.

 

May the love of Jesus fill me

As the waters fill the sea;

Him exalting, self abasing,

This is victory.

 

May I run the race before me,

Strong and brave to face the foe,

Looking only unto Jesus

As I onward go.

 

Author: Kate B. Wilkinson


Chennai 10-April-2016

Hello from a very warm Chennai!

My schedule of parkruns has a two week gap in it, due to a work trip to India.  With about a week in Bangalore, I met software engineers from BT and one of our subcontract companies Tech Mahindra.  This week, I have two days in Chennai with colleagues from TCS - Tata Consultancy Services.

In Bangalore, I used the hotel gym for conditioning sessions before getting a cold and losing my voice!  Of the exercises, the plain vanilla sit-ups are the toughest - it's an unforgiving exercise.

Today I went to the beach to try a run. I knew 5km would be a stretch, but hoped I could do it.

Chennai run

However, at 3km, the heat just got to me - it was my legs that went.  I learnt a few things from the attempt…

  1. Use the stretch to and from the beach as part of the run rather than not having this time in the heat count
  2. Sometimes you really do need a headband to absorb the sweat!  There were so many drops I thought it was raining.
  3. For a cooler run... get up even earlier

The Runkeeper Kilometer 'split' timings tell the story of getting slower…

Kilometer 1: 08:15,   Kilometer 2: 11:11,   Kilometer 1: 12:05.

So, deep respect to people who do running in extreme conditions, not least Eddie Izzard.

Looking to the coming week, I aim to…

  • Get rid of this cold
  • Resume conditioning training on Thursday when I get home
  • Complete parkrun 3 of 22 on Saturday - my 'local' Ward Park
  • Start producing a series of videos around fitness conditioning & health, as well as different angles on blood cancer treatment and research

Thank you for interest, encouragement, donations, stem cell donor signups.

Some nice photos after today's Chennai sunrise are here.

Best wishes,

Tim