Parker Rios: Taking his love of running to new heights!

By Dave Fidlin of Dave Fidlin Writing & Editing Services, LLC Runner Parker Rios on Elite Elliptical

In his youth, Parker Rios had little interest in running. It’s a fact many find surprising for a person who has competed in more than 100 ultramarathon races and is stretching his physical and mental capabilities in a series of hyper-competitive events. Parker, 46, began running as a student at UW-Madison. At the time, a roommate convinced him to take part in a 10k run to support a charity. The experience was intertwined with one of Parker’s greatest ambitions – competition. The rest, as they say, is history. Parker, a Brookfield resident and a member of Elite since 2004, is married to Kendra Wolff. They have two children: Lacey, 6, and Gillian, 5. Parker says he balances his time with family amid his workout regimens.

Runner Parker Rios Utilizing Elite Drop and Shop ProgramParker uses the club about five times each week for a portion of his rigorous workout regimen. He primarily uses Elite’s ellipticals, treadmills, resistance weight machines and free weights. Parker finds time to train in the club while his children are in Elite’s playroom or in Petite Elite, Elite’s pre-school. Parker sometimes utilizes the “Drop & Shop” program that gives club members an opportunity to drop off their children in the club’s play area and leave the club to run errands or literally run. He says Elite offers all of the amenities to assist in his training.

In the past two decades, Parker has competed in a variety of ultramarathon races – many with the Badgerland Striders, Wisconsin’s largest and oldest running club with more than 1,400 members. Parker has been actively involved with ultramarathon running since 1990. Ultramarathon races are runs longer than a 26.2 mile marathon. The most common distances are 50K, 50 mile, 100K, 100 mile and 135 mile races can last anywhere from 4 hours to 60 hours.

“I enjoy a lot of things about it,” Parker says. “Unlike a traditional race, such as the Boston Marathon, where there are anywhere from 10,000 to 70,000 people, ultramarathon races are held in more secluded and scenic areas.”

Ultramarathoners endure a variety of conditions through natural areas. Parker says running on softer surfaces has been less strenuous on his legs, knees and back than if he were running strictly on pavement. “Every step is very different, and it has resulted in less stress on my body overall,” Parker explains.

Parker emphatically states his love of ultramarathon running has never been stronger. In fact, he has been taking his competitive prowess to new heights by participating in a series of invitation only events.

Parker is in the midst of training for the self-proclaimed “Fire and Ice” ultramarathon races, a feat never accomplished before within a 12 month period by any person. The “Fire” taking place in Death Valley, California and the “Ice” taking place in Alaska. He had to undergo a rigorous application process and learned in February he was selected. Parker’s decision to take part in “Fire and Ice” came on the heels of a successful first-place finish in the Arrowhead 135, an annual 135 mile race held in International Falls, Minnesota, in February, 2013. The Arrowhead 135 is held during the coldest time of year in a city notorious for frigid conditions. Parker pulled a sled with 40 pounds of survival gear before reaching the finish line nearly 44 hours later.

The Badwater 135 Mile Ultramarathon, a 100-person competition starts in Death Valley and ends at one of the tallest portions of Mt. Whitney. Average temperatures reach about 120 degrees Fahrenheit when the competition takes place in mid-July. Parker is training for the heat by spending an exorbitant amount of time in Elite’s dry sauna. Once the “Fire” wraps in July, Parker will gear up for the frigid “Ice,” the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 350 mile running race in Alaska, which will be held
in February 2014.

In the midst of his training activities, Parker also is fundraising to assist in the cost of the “Fire and Ice” competitions and to lend support to a cause near and dear to his heart. Corporate sponsors will help defray Parker’s out-of-pocket costs for the upcoming competition.

Individual donations will support a new recreational therapy program at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. Parker’s father, Robert, benefited from the center’s services in 2010 and 2011 before his passing. “He really received excellent care,” Parker says. “The people over there are great.”

Information on how to donate to Parker Rios’ endeavors:

  • Corporate Sponsorship for “Fire and Ice” expenses. Contact Parker via “Fire and Ice Runner” Facebook page.
  • Individual Donations to create a new recreational therapy program at VA Medical Center. Send check, payable to Zablocki VAMC with “Fire and Ice” on memo line, to: Zablocki VAMC – Voluntary Services (135) 5000 W. National Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53295

This member spotlight is from our Elite Sports Clubs seasonal magazine, in which we include an Activity Guide for upcoming programs and events, plus articles on popular health, fitness, and tennis topics written by our own trainers, tennis pros, and staff. Check out a digital copy of the West Side Summer 2013 Elite Magazine, the East Side Summer 2013 Elite Magazine, or pick up your own copy at any of our five Milwaukee-area Elite Sports Clubs locations.

We’d love to hear your story! Email us at MyStory@EliteClubs.com or tweet us at @MyEliteStory!

What’s the farthest distance you have ever run? Is an ultramarathon a goal of yours? How do you train for your own running races? Share with us in the comments!

All Things Fitness: New Outdoor Boot Camp Facility

We are excited to announce that Elite Sports Club-Mequon is building a new specialty outdoor boot camp & obstacle course training area! The equipment (detailed below) will be offered as a part of personal and small group training to our members. This is something many of our members have been asking for and we are happy to be able to provide such a unique outdoor space to really help members enhance their fitness and athletic ability. We hope this setup will not only be able to help members get in shape, but also help prepare them for the very popular obstacle course adventure races such as Tough Mudder, Muddy Buddy, Warrior Dash, and Dirty Girl. We look forward to showing you the progress of the build in the coming weeks with hopes of offering classes by our next small group training session!

Now to the good stuff! As far as the space itself, it is going to be broken up into 3 different areas, so for clarification we will call these Area 1, Area 2, and Area 3.

Elite Mequon Boot Camp Obstacle Course Before

Area 1 – located south of the air conditioning unit
Area 1 will be composed of 4 specific structures, tires, a bench, dip bars, and a rebounding wall.

  • Tires – We are going to have 2 tires standing up on end, buried about 2/3 the way into the ground. These will primarily be used for pounding with a sledgehammer.
  • Bench – This is going to be an 8ft long bench, that will be about 3-4 feet wide, and 20 inches tall. We will primarily use this for doing box jumps, step-ups, and incline push-ups.
  • Dip Bars – These will be 2 parallel bars that will be about 3-4 feet tall and 2-2.5 feet apart, and will primarily be used for triceps dips and core work.
  • Rebounding Wall – This will be on the re-enforced side of the wall surrounding the air conditioning unit, used for doing medicine ball slams.

Elite Mequon Boot Camp Obstacle Course Before

Area 2 – located just north of the air conditioning unit
This will be our largest and most noticeable section of the Boot Camp area. This will be where we have the pull-up structures, monkey bars, and over-under logs

  • Pull-Up Structures – We are going to have 2 6x6x10 structures with pull-up bars on each side. There will also be a climbing rope attached to the top in the center of the unit and battling ropes on the bottom.
  • Monkey bars – The Monkey Bars will be 10 feet long, connecting the 2 pull-up structures. We will also be able to attach TRX units to these for doing different TRX exercises. On each end, we are going to have a high rebounding target for doing medicine tosses.
  • Over-Under Logs – We will have 5 different logs of varying height that will be between 6-8 feet long and anywhere between 3-5 ft tall.

Elite Mequon Boot Camp Obstacle Course Before

Area 3 – located just north of area 2 on the other side of the emergency door for the tennis courts
This area will be where we will have the power sled and agility tires.

Areas 1 and 2 will be covered with wood chips, while area 3 will be grass. We will be building a fence around the air conditioning unit to protect and beautify it.

If you are interested in more information on the new boot camp/obstacle course outdoor facility or just in training in general, please contact us using this form. We also encourage you to subscribe to our fitness & training emails to stay in the know about what training programs we are offering.

Are you signed up for any obstacle course adventure races? Which ones and how are you training for them? Tell us in the comments!

Recreational Sports: The forgotten cardio workout

Can recreational sports be a supplementary part of your cardio workouts? I seem to be asking myself this question on a regular basis as I try to decide whether clients, and myself, should only participate in a workout designed for the fitness center. Would playing basketball three days a week be a good replacement for running on the treadmill?

As a sports junkie it is hard for me to continually run on a treadmill because it gets very monotonous with no chance of any of the conditions changing as I keep pounding away on that belt on the treadmill. Wouldn’t one rather take part in a sport during which the conditions constantly change, and still get the needed workout for your goals?

I am definitely an enthusiast for recreational sports as a part of your workout. It keeps one coming to the gym because they never know what will happen in a game of volleyball, basketball or even soccer at the club. Running on a treadmill or even using an elliptical would be great workouts as well, but as a “sports person” I can’t bring myself to participate in these activities on a regular basis.

If you are an individual that has been a sports enthusiast for much of your life it would make sense that you have trouble transitioning your workouts into a fitness center as you bypass your high school, and collegiate days on the courts. A typical fitness center or health club in general isn’t designed well for a former competitive athlete because everyone is there doing their own individual workouts. As athletes we are used to being a part of team workouts, or even competitions that bring us all closer together.

The best way we can get that feeling from our clubs is by participating in the recreational sports that our respective club may offer or even a group exercise class. For Elite Sports Clubs this could range all the way in the spectrum of sports from swimming, tennis, basketball, and volleyball to even indoor soccer in one of our Milwaukee Wave clinics. If one is used to the competitive spirit of sports then these recreational sports can at least help you offset your desire for competition. It is also a great way to get a workout in if you are an individual who only worked out because of sports in high school or college.

Men playing basketball photo

Playing basketball for an hour is an aerobic activity that can easily help offset running on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine. So, if you are someone who is looking for workouts that will not only challenge you physically, but also mentally then my club, Elite Sports Clubs, like many others offer opportunities to compete against others in a recreational sport of your choice.

Do you prefer machines for cardio or recreational sports? Does your health club offer recreational sports? How do you change up your treadmill runs, stationary bike rides or elliptical workouts to keep it new? Please share your comments.

Plus check out the recreational sports offered at Elite Sports Clubs.

Thank you,

Kyle Krogmann
Personal Trainer
Elite Sports Club-Mequon