RHS Teachers & Students going the Distance

I am often reminded that I work in a fantastic school with some really special teachers, and it is worth sharing some of this with everybody else. This year one of our teachers, Nadia Gandhi, decided she wanted to be increase her own personal fitness. She was encouraged and supported by another teacher, Marieve Fontaine, and the two of them signed up for a Somersault Events Try-a-Tri. Soon enough both ladies were running at lunch, biking on the weekends, and getting in swims when they could. To say they were proud of their accomplishments is an understatement.

Fast forward to this school year, and both women wanted to encourage our students to become more active, both physically and socially. Marieve, along with teachers Katie McColeman, and Ruth McKeague, started a girls running club with the goal of completing the 5km or 10km Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, a race which is focused on increasing awareness of women’s mental health issues.


Ridgemont Runs for Women 2017

Ridgemont is a school which has students from across the globe. In recent years we have seen an influx of young men and women from Somalia, Nepal, and most recently Syria. Their experiences are varied, but they rarely resemble the life experiences of others. As newcomers to Canada, they also need additional supports in our community. Teacher Nadia Gandhi has partnered with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISCO) to support a group of student who are entered to run the Ottawa Race Weekend 5k this month. This group started with strength and cardio training during our very cold and snowy Ottawa winter. They ran indoors to begin, and then moved outdoors and ran ran or shine (Ottawa has had a lot of wet days!). As a staff, we are very proud of Ms. Gandhi and her students. Take a moment to read her note about her project:
On May 27th, my ELDCO/DO class will be running a 5km race as part of Ottawa Race Weekend. We are part of OCISO’s team called, ” Running for a New Start – Going the Distance for Refugees”.  
Part pilot project/part literacy project in resilience, my students are showing tremendous efforts. Every week since March we have been training and now that the weather ​is warmer we will be tracking our 5km twice a week.
As part of our efforts we are fundraising for OCISO. See link below to donate if you are so inclined. 
Thanks RHS!

RHS ELDs going the distance

If you’ve been thinking about supporting a charity, please consider this worthy cause. As we enter one of the busiest times of the school year, these two examples of teachers going beyond the classroom to teach their students life lessons is refreshing and encouraging. Thanks to all of the amazing teachers at my school who make this such an incredible place to work.

Winter Running

This year I’ve decided to keep running as much as possible. Unlike other years when I stop running in the fall and then start again in the spring, having enjoyed a lovely winter rest, this year I’m running in the winter. Okay, so I wasn’t great at running in the late fall and early winter, but I did get out a few times. I even ran indoors a few times. What amazed me was that I still had some decent speed in my legs and lungs. That said, preparing to brave the cold of an Ottawa winter was a whole other issue.

In December I took part in Jayme Rae’s plank challenge. Since this worked out so well, I thought I might try to take on Run Ottawa’s running streak challenge #RORunStreak on Twitter and Instagram. At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to even do this since I don’t like to run in the cold, but then I got to thinking that I have to go out to walk the dog anyway so why not run; we could both use the exercise. Two things I had to consider:

  1. Kip is a spaz and has typically tripped me when we have tried to run before. Did I really want to risk a wipe out?

The more I exercise, the more I learn that running is like trying to get little kids to eat something. On average it takes 11 attempts at a food before a child will realize it’s okay and they like it. Running is the same; you can’t just give up. If you want to succeed, then you must try more than once. This was going to be my one more time moment.

If you’ve followed me on Twitter or Instagram then you know I have in fact been running almost every day this month. Some days it’s just 1.5 km in the morning and again at night, some days it’s a bit longer. I was lucky that the first few days of January were relatively mild here so getting out was easier than I thought. By the end of the first week, though, the temperature dropped to a brisk -16C (felt like -20C). Since the dog still had to go, we ran around the block. Guess what? We both survived. In fact within a few days Kip and I seemed to have figured how to run together. After 17 days, there have only been 3 days when I wasn’t able to run, but I did walk those days.

My mother, a long time runner, told me that running in winter is simply a matter of dressing right and being careful. I have to admit she is right. I still have trouble figuring out how many layers to wear, but it’s a lesson I’m happy to keep learning. I’m not a hardcore winter runner, but I’m getting the hang of it. It doesn’t scare me like it used to, and I know I will appreciate the effort come spring. Maybe one of the nicest things to come from my efforts was a colleague telling me I have inspired her to run with her dog this winter.

Thanks to @RunOttawa and all the #RORunStreak participants for your continued encouragement and support!

My WordPress.com Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
Amazingly I have been using WordPress.com for 6 years! I’m not really sure where the time has gone, but suddenly I’m here. I know when I started using the platform in my classroom I had great plans to communicate with my students — which I did sort of. Then I created a variety of other sites for other purposes, which were also used sort of. Finally I created this site. While I am not a power user like many other blogger, I still find time to post things about my journey towards a healthier me, as well as some photos and book reviews. Here’s hoping I can log a few more kilometers running and biking and crank out a few more post in the coming year.
Thanks for playing along!

Photo101: Water & Bliss

Water is life. Seems like a pretty simple concept. Not surprisingly, many of the memories and photographs my family have involve and cherish water.  There was a time I thought that because my wife came from the West Coast, we placed more value on water-ish things.  But then I remembered some of the things I did growing up in land-locked Ontario.  Water was ever present.  There were the cottages my grandparents owned along the Ottawa River, learning to sail at my aunt and uncle’s cottage in the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River, playing in a river with my best friend John and then the two of us almost getting swept away (best photo I wish I had — John’s dad took a great shot of us that exists for me now only in my memory), earning my swimming bracelet at camp, playing in the ocean and on the beaches of Barbados, having a swimming pool in high school and a hot tub in university.  That’s a lot of water, and it doesn’t even include snow, which we get a lot of in Ottawa.  Not bad for a kid who grew up in Ontario.

When I met my wife and she explained the wonders of BC to me, I didn’t really get it. I should have known, really, the significance of water since the month after we started dating we took a trip to Biddeford Pool, Maine.  There isn’t much to do there except sit by the ocean and listen to the waves.   But I didn’t clue in.  So what, I thought, you lived in a city that was on the water and close to mountains.  Sure you still thought of Vancouver as home even though you hadn’t lived there for 8 years.  Big deal.  Turns out I was wrong.  It was and is a big deal.  We take our kids there every other year, more often if we can manage it, because there is something amazing about being on the water.  Our first stop is inevitably the beach at Spanish Banks. We stay with family who live near the Fraser River, and we rent cottages on the Gulf Islands.  The years we do not go west, my wife always find a way for us to spend time on the water, whether it be visiting friends at their cottages or renting our own in Western Quebec or in Maine.  We love those trips because we see family and we re-energize even though we’re always doing something.

So with all this thinking about water, and trying to always capture a new photo for this experiment I’ve undertaken, I made a point of stopping at Hog’s Back Falls on my way home from work.  I have visited this place many times in my life because of the magnificence and power of the water moving over the falls.  I often wonder how many people who drive over the bridge ever stop to see the falls.  If they have any idea of what goes on just below their cars.

Here is a series of shots from the east side of he Hogs Back Falls taken with my Nexus 7 tablet.

Hogs Back Falls 2

Hogs Back Falls cascading down the rock chute

Hogs Back Falls

Hogs Back Falls and the upper and lower runoffs to the Rideau River

Water Cuts Rock

Hogs Back Falls and the passage of time

Google created Awesome Photo

Google created Awesome Photo

So that’s what I came up with today.  But because I’m also trying to cover my Blogging101 task for the day, I’m going to throw in a couple of other things.

First are some summer holiday shots from Saturna Island, BC, our Gulf Island get away, taken this summer during the super moon; you can really see the impact of the full moon on the tides:

The low tide during the Super Moon of July 2014

The low tide during the Super Moon of July 2014

East Point Beach at High Tide

Of course a blog about water needs to have a picture from the Georgia Aquarium:

And to wrap it all up, I have to turn to music.  I often have a soundtrack that runs through my head, and no post about water would be complete without the Rev. Al Green in this “Soul Train” clip from 1975:

Al Green “Take Me To The River”, Soul Train circa 1975

Thanks for wading through to the end of this post.