Early Season Paddle on Minesing Swamp

Posted by Mark on 30 March, 2011 in video

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A Month of Eating Like a Caveman.

Posted by Mark on 10 March, 2011 in Uncategorized


One month, 30 days, eat the foods that a caveman in the Palaeolithic era would have eaten. It’s overly simple.. or is it? It’s called the Paleo diet.

The What
No dairy, no grains, no sugar, no beans, no alcohol (yes even you my beloved scotch) everything has to be “real food” and not processed. This really eliminates a lot of stuff that is in the middle of the grocery store. You can eat as much as you like, it just has to be quality food. I’m sort of looking forward to it, all fruits, veggies, meats, seeds, and seafood! You can even use fire to cook it!

The Why

from Wikepedia “The modern dietary regimen known as the Paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman dietStone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various human species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. In common usage, such terms as the “Paleolithic diet” also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.”

When you talk to people about nutrition, you are treading in the same realm as religion. People have strong opinions and beliefs about both. I currently feel that there is a lot of misinformation about what good nutrition is, and what “healthy eating” is.  People either eat what they want and really don’t care what they put in their bodies, or they may be well intentioned but misinformed. I’ve been doing some reading and getting information from such sources as Mark Sisson’s Daily Apple and his Primal Blueprint. As well, there is some great stuff out there with Robb Wolf who was with CrossFit, but has moved onto bigger and better things with his book the Palaeolithic Solution.  Heather read Good Calorie Bad Calorie by Gary Taubes, and this is probably one of the books that has really fired a torpedo of truth into the hull of conventional wisdom as it pertains to nutrition and health advice. He was recently on the Dr. Oz show being vilified, when all he was really doing was speaking from the existing research and drawing a conclusion.  This video from the Larry King show shows the initial clash between these two health titans. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEqhar40TVw[/youtube]

The When

So as of April 1, 2011 we will try it together and see how we feel and it is really more of an experiment to see how we feel and how we can make our lives better.

Additional Reading :

Anything by Michael Pollan

Related Links:

Great little Ebook on 21st Century Paleo Diet

Paleo Wiki

Paleo Diet Nutrition Page

Why you got Fat Video

The Paleo Diet


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My “Go To” Breakfast

Posted by Mark on 4 February, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m not a chef, but I want to eat clean and have something that is delicious, quick, nutritious and mostly hormonally balanced. A lot of people think of their breakfast with a bagel, banana, and a glass of orange juice as being perfectly healthy. It’s all CARBS, and you might as well follow it up with an insulin shot, or just pass out at your workstation 20 minutes after consuming said meal as your blood sugar rockets skyward.

Here is my breakfast that I prefer most days, and I’m a bit of a creature of habit and I thought I would share my breakfast choice with you, even though in a guide to get retweeted Twitter says that nobody cares what you eat for breakfast, obviously you are or you wouldn’t have kept reading this far.Ironically Made in China

Prep time : 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy

tap water1 tbsp butter (no margarine here)
4 farm fresh brown eggs (including the yolks)
4 cubes of Europe’s Best frozen spinach
Assorted Organic Spices (my fave is Cajun)
mozzarella cheese (out for Paleo, but hey I like cheese and have the enzyme to break it down)
avocados or salsa
some fruit, any will do, preferably berries

I try to portion my meals using the Zone diet and follow their principles of hormone regulation, this would be a 4 block meal 4 protein, 4 carbs, and probably 4 or more fats. It is really ballparked, but it seems to work for me. Depending on your size, you may use 3 eggs, or more if you are a hulking performance monster!

How to Make:

The Finished Product! Fill a medium frying pan with enough water to cover the Europe’s best cubes, and turn on high, cook these little scrumptious green guys until all the water is gone, only will take 5 or 6 minutes probably. Once they are sauteed then put them aside on your serving plate.

Turn down the heat to medium and then toss in your butter and cover the bottom of the pan. Take your 4 eggs and break them into a little bowl and froth them up really good. Lots of whipping makes light fluffy eggs! Once your butter has melted then you want to dump the eggs into the frying pan. Season with your spices and herbs to give your breakfast some zing! I get my herbs from a place on the West coast called Health and Wellness house.

Take your sauteed spinach leaves and toss their leafy goodness into the omelette. Grab your ground up cheese and once your omelette is ready to flip then toss in the cheese, because if you put it in too early it melts all over the place and makes a big mess. You can leave the cheese out if you want to stay strictly Paleo.

Cook until the the eggs are done, but not brown and then you have a nice fold over omelette. You can now add your guacamole spread or straight avocados or salsa for more of a party.

Let the omelette sit for a couple minutes to let the cheese inside harden and for the egg to stop cooking and firm up. Grab your Java and your water (or even both! ) and you have yourself a nice little breakfast that should keep you satiated and happy until lunchtime at least!

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Abe Patterson – Moose Carving

Posted by Mark on 5 January, 2011 in Uncategorized

Ottawa Valley Carving PattersonLooking for Abe Patterson’s son who contacted me before about this carving. I’d like to get in touch with him. Here goes the power of the internet and meta tags. Hello google!



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Definition of “Fitness” from 1987

Posted by Mark on 13 December, 2010 in Training

canada standardized test of fitness

What is Fitness?

Looking through an older booklet from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology the CSTF booklet (Canadian Standardized Test of Fitness) I found some surprisingly good info for the early 80′s period. It seems at this point in time the Canadian government was actually putting a lot of research into trying to define “Fitness”.  Remember the old Canadian Fitness Testing? Well it seems that the the people in charge of this study and effort believed in the scientific method and that measurable repeatable results cannot be obtained without first developing a baseline of “fitness”.

This was a massive joint effort by the government to try to “improve the likelihood that participants who have a fitness appraisal will take appropriate action to improve their fitness” I believe this was a precursor to the whole Participation movement that attempted to get Canadians more active.

Circa 1987

Physical Fitness Defined:

Traditionally, fitness has been defined as “the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigour and alertness, without undue fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies.

the manual goes on to expand on this definition :

To go beyond this simple statement of philosophy, fitness, in an applied sense can be looked upon as “a set of attributes of functional capacity that are related to the ability to perform physical activity.”

These attributes are the specific components of fitness:

  • body composition
  • aerobic fitness
  • muscular strength
  • flexibility
  • muscular endurance

A pretty good definition from a study from over 20 years ago.  The Canadian Standardized Test of Fitness (CSTF) measured all of these, and was scrapped some years later. Too bad. It seems that CrossFit which is a huge up and coming fitness movement now has capitalized on this same scientific method and has defined worked hard to define “fitness” as well.

CrossFit’s New Three-Dimensional Definition of Fitness and Health, Greg Glassman (CFJ Preview) [wmv][mov» Feb 22 09

CrossFit’s Definition of Fitness (CrossFit Journal)

Source: Canadian Standardized Test of Fitness – Interpretation and counselling manual 1987. A joint project of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, National Fitness Appraisal Certification and Accreditation Program and Fitness Canada, a directorate of Fitness and Amateur Sport.

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Canadian Forces Pull up Bars Up Close

Posted by Mark on 29 November, 2010 in Training

I took these pics of a pull up bar station on a Canadian Forces Base. These have probably seen quite a few pull ups and i’m thinking that this is a pretty tried and true set up.


1. They are using 4/4 posts, I’m guessing 12 footers as this whole thing was pretty high.

2. The bar was pretty thick compared to other pull up bars that I’ve seen and used. I’m guessing that the inside diameter of the bar would be 1.5 inches which would make the diameter around 1.75 inches.

3. The tape, well it was added, but probably not needed. It looks like the bar was constructed from pipe used for gas fittings.

4.  The wedges on the side of the posts are super important to get the people up to the bar, and also important to have them on BOTH sides of the post as you have to grip the beam to get up to the bar.

Pull ups are the ultimate upper body strengthening exercise, and a great way to get better at doing pull ups…. well do more pull ups!

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Truths for Mature Humans

Posted by Mark on 25 November, 2010 in General, Uncategorized

On a side note, I found this while surfing the web, if anyone knows the source of this, then I’d be happy to source it.

# 2, 14, & 20 ring true to me.


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Trekking Tow Lines – the Greatest Adventure Race Advantage Nobody Uses

Posted by Mark on 15 November, 2010 in Training

trekking towlineOur team finished Raid the Hammer which is a 25 plus orienteering adventure run just outside of Toronto in the Burlington area this year. The course features some large ups and downs and is a great blend of trail running, mucky trekking, technical scrambling, and road running.

Our team is still getting better at navigation, so we had to maximize our team strength which was speed.

I always ask people when we are putting on our adventure racing training courses “How fast can you travel on your team in AR?” and the response that I emphatically get 99 percent of the time is “As fast as your slowest person!”.

raid the hammer orienteeringWRONG!

In adventure racing you can travel FASTER than your slowest person because you can tow, you can push, you can share weight, and  you can draft.

It still surprises me in a longer team race such as this one that we just finished this weekend, that more teams don’t tow. There were 100 teams that lined up for the start of the longer race and I only saw one other team towing. Ironically enough it was our neighbours, long time adventure racers, and sometime training partners from the team Beowulf. There is no rule against it, and it is a potent aid to maximize your teams efficiency!

See team Beowulf’s interview on AR Radio here

Benefits of Towing

  • Makes your team go faster!
  • Keeps your team closer together / better for communication
  • Movitates all members of the team because they are able to help
  • Psychologically comforting knowing that you aren’t going to be dropped

Detractors of Towing

  • Carry extra weight
  • Cord sometimes gets caught up
  • Requires practise with your teammates
  • You get silly comments from everyone (mostly because they want to be on tow)

I don’t know about you, but for the weight, I’ll take this little piece of race insurance in my pack any day! Try it and I think you will like it. You will make race more enjoyable for everyone on your team.

non locking carabiners

What you need:

7 feet of thera-band, surgical tubing, or stretchy cord.

2  non-locking carabiners

Just tie off the carabiners with a double overhand knot and you are ready to rock.

Click here to have a look at our Bike Tow system.

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Bring back the Canada Fitness Testing!

Posted by Mark on 5 November, 2010 in Training

When the teachers went on strike on an episode of the Simpsons, poor little Lisa was without any feedback and she went into intellectual withdrawal and sought out sources and authority figures to get “graded”.  It has become unpopular to assign labels or to have competition within schools and the new “everybody is a winner” attitude seems to be the purveying train of thought. What happened to awarding achievement?

Many of you remember the Canada fitness testing as being a day of dread because people actually quantified your fitness level with numbers and levels. This was a source of ridicule and hardships for some, but for others like me and my wife, it was play day and a chance to get “graded” on our fitness which for the competitive types was a challenge and a reward. Maybe I am jaded with my work as a firefighter, but being a first responder at many medical emergency calls, I can tell you that I see overweight unhealthy YOUNG people who require medical assistance ahead of their time. I say bring back the Canada Fitness Testing, because we are reaching epidemic levels of obesity in a socialized health care system. Here is a novel thought, maybe we should give the healthy fit kids some incentive to stay that way! Either we are

all going to pay now, or pay later, as the unhealthy little kids are going to inherently burden the health care system later on in life unless their life choices change, and peer pressure is a great motivator! Pointing out someones physical weakness or inherent incompetence can be done without shaming the kids, and it can be done in a way that we can set goals for them and work on shoring up weaknesses. Why is this such a verboten idea? We grade kids in all other aspects of their school curriculum, but give them no feedback on how Physically Fit or HEALTHY they are. To sum it up, I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who said ” Your body is your window through which you see the world.”

air cadet canada fitness excellence badge

While I was in the Air Cadet system we did the Canada Fitness testing protocols as part of our fitness component. I know that they still do the fitness testing and there are awards to the top cadets. In the air cadet program there are few badges that you can wear, compared to the other elements (army) and one of them is the Canada Fitness badge.

So if you were living under a rock, and you must ask: What were the Canada Fitness Test Standards?

Here they are: It is based on six fitness performance tests that give an overall picture of your general physical

fitness condition. The six tests, each of which have a specific purpose, include the following:

  • a. push-ups, for arm and shoulder girdle strength;
  • b. shuttle run, for speed, power and agility;
  • c. partial curl-ups, for abdominal muscles;
  • d. standing long jump, for power and agility;
  • e. 50 m run, for speed, power and agility; and
  • f. endurance run, for stamina.

How is it scored?

The Canada Fitness testing used levels that were represented by elements such as gold, silver, bronze. There were two others, and they were the level of excellence, and the dreaded participation pin. So after you completed all the tests, you received a grade based on the lowest scoring of  any of the sections. For example if you get silver ratings in 5 out of the 6 test, and then you get a bronze level in the push ups. Then your overall rating and your little fancy badge is a bronze. So the Canada fitness test was promoting overall health and fitness, and was in fact a blend of speed, agility, strength, and stamina. It sounds eerily similar to CrossFit’s 10 general physical skills that they promote as one of the pillars of their fitness program.

Click below to see all of the standards and levels for the now defunct Canada Fitness Testing


I say it was a great test of overall health and fitness and think that the idea should be revisited. After all, what we are doing now to keep our youth healthy and fit is clearly NOT working.

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Race Sponsorship Meetings…

Posted by Mark on 21 October, 2010 in About Us, General, video

Not safe for family or work. But funny.

Kenny Powers Gets Signed By K-Swiss

Working with sponsors is a whole different ball game. Impressions on your website and racer surveys, not to mention sign placement or race day presence, are all important things and also extra things that you didn’t have to do before you had sponsors. Sponsors are sometimes good, and sometimes, just really more work than what they are offering your race. But when you find a good one, then stick with them and make it work, because it is really about relationships and having an open dialogue about what you both want. Hopefully through meetings and/or more frequent informal contacts, you can find avenues that work for both of your companies.

Is there a secret book on how to get sponsors..?  Well if there is, I haven’t found it and it would be amazingly awesome. All I can speak half intelligently on is what we proposed to do with our races. We are a race company, we put on races, and then we really try to put on a successful competitive fun and safe race first. Other things like flashy host sites or really cool videos come second. Nobody is going to care if they have a back rub and a t-bone steak after the race if the race didn’t live up to their standard. If the race sucks, then everything else will get lumped into that same category and painted with the same poop stained brush. We haven’t put ourselves out there at Hark Events as anything but a race company, striving to put on great races. Over the years we have gotten better at it, and we have had some time to seek out sponsorships, but we also haven’t changed our product to accommodate the sponsors. We have learned many hard lessons over the years in dealing with sponsors, and hopefully that has avoided some future pitfalls. It has also allowed us to appreciate a good sponsor when we get one.

I am reminded of a great book called the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, and one of the laws in that books states “Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.” I think that as long as we are striving continually to put on a great race an not rest on our laurels of the past race, then I think we should be ok, remember it says “often”. I believe that we are ok here, (not to sound arrogant) because we believe we are making great races and sound decisions, and our races continue to show growth. So why do I think that we won’t fall into the aforementioned trap? We have been putting on races since 2003, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier, or take any less time. We are still seeking quality and if we did it well last year, then people are expecting just that little bit more the next year. The equal workload is attributed to greater efficiency in work equaling a higher work output prior to the race.

So how does this all tie into sponsorships? My advice is to work on your law of focus and to continue to figure out what is important with your race and to be forthcoming about what your race really is.  Sponsors don’t make a great race, but they can make a great race even better! Perhaps Henry David Thoreau said it best: “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” Sponsors will see your level of commitment and want to attach themselves to a good product.

A special shout out to our fantastic sponsors :

Trek or Treat Night Trail Run

Emergency Services Adventure Race

RockstAR Adventure Race

We love to work with people who want to work with us. Contact us about sponsorship opportunities

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