Maria Parker

Brain Cancer Research Impact 2023: Crossing the Canyon Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim

by Maria Parker on February 7, 2024 Comments Off on Brain Cancer Research Impact 2023: Crossing the Canyon Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim

This year, 19 people joined us for our Crossing the Canyon Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim effort. The Grand Canyon crossing challenged our muscles and minds with the steep descent into the canyon and seemingly endless ascent out of it. We covered more than 24 miles and 10,000 vertical feet in less than 12 hours. As ever, the rim-to-rim event tested the limits of our physical endurance and mental fortitude, serving as a poignant metaphor for the struggle faced by those fighting brain cancer. We are grateful for the physical stamina and preparation of our participants that allowed us all to make it out of the canyon in daylight this year!

At the heart of Crossing the Canyon lies our mission: to raise funds for brain cancer research. 3000 Miles to a Cure channels all proceeds towards cutting-edge research aimed at finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for brain cancer.

In 2023, our Crossing the Canyon team raised an incredible $80,000. This is only possible through the dedication and generosity of our participants and their supporters. This year the money was donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Center fueling the ALLELE-GBM research program under the direction of Dr. Keith Ligon. Dana-Farber expressed deep gratitude for our support (you can read the letter here). Gifts like ours are critical in pushing advances in brain cancer research.

Crossing the Canyon also celebrates the stories of the people and families changed by brain cancer. As we share stories of resilience, survival, and loss, this event makes us a family and gives us the courage to continue the fight and advocate for increased support and resources for brain cancer research.

As we celebrate the success of Crossing the Canyon and the impact it has made, we are reminded of the ongoing desperate urgency in the fight against brain cancer. Almost every week, articles cross my desk with novel approaches to studying and treating brain cancer. While strides have been made, there is still a long way to go. With your continued support we will keep up the struggle and continue to bring hope to those fighting and yearning for better treatments for this awful disease.

We are deeply grateful to all of you in our Crossing the Canyon community: the participants and those who support our hikers and crew. Our desire is that Crossing the Canyon will continue to be a symbol of toughness, resolve and compassion as we progress toward more effective treatments for this hateful disease.

By the way, registration is now open for 2024 – join us!

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Maria ParkerBrain Cancer Research Impact 2023: Crossing the Canyon Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim

Rim to Rim: 10 Weeks Training Plan

by Maria Parker on July 12, 2019 Comments Off on Rim to Rim: 10 Weeks Training Plan

As I write this, we are just over 10 weeks away from this year’s Crossing the Canyon Grand Canyon Rim to Rim effort for brain cancer research. These past few months have been quite busy for me so I haven’t been training like I should for Crossing the Canyon. I have pretty decent aerobic endurance fitness, but not enough high intensity fitness to make the Crossing the Canyon the fun adventure it should be instead of painful slog.

Perhaps some of you are in the same boat? We have 10 weeks left to go, so I am creating a training plan for myself and wanted to share it here. Feel free to use any or all of it for your own training.

Two Caveats:

  1. Don’t do anything you shouldn’t do. You know your body, knees, hips, ankles. Check with a doctor if you have any doubts. You are responsible for your own health and fitness and I am not a fitness expert.
  2. We’ve learned over the years that Crossing the Canyon requires a different kind of fitness than an ordinary 25 mile hike might. The combination of altitude, descending first, and finishing with a really steep ascent make it uniquely challenging. The preparation for this requires training at an intensity that stresses your cardiovascular system until you are significantly out of breath, or basically what is called interval training.

Here is my plan for the next 10 weeks:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday:

Run 2 miles to a staircase, run up and down the staircase working up to 45 minutes to an hour, run home.

Tuesday and Thursday:

High intensity lower body circuit workout (see below).

Saturday or Sunday:

Long run or walk of at least a couple of hours at an easy pace for practice with food, water intake.

Lower Body Circuit

Each workout consists of four 7-minute high intensity intervals plus a warm up and cool down.

In each 7-minute interval repeat the 3 given exercises in the circuit as many times as possible. Stop when the timer stops. Rest 30-90 seconds. My plan is to be very tired at the end of this work out with my muscles feeling like jelly. The whole thing should take about 40 minutes.

Warm up for 5-10 minutes.

Circuit one (7 minutes)
20 Squats
24 stationary lunges (alternating legs)
Skipping rope 50-100 reps.

Rest for 30-90 seconds.

Circuit two (7 minutes):
24 Walking lunges
20 jump squats or sumo squats
20 Step knee ups (step up on a step and bring the opposite knee up high. Alternate with other leg)

Rest for 30-90 seconds.
Circuit 1 (7 minutes)

Rest for 30-90 seconds.

Circuit 2 (7 minutes)

Cool down and stretch.

Just to reiterate: The workout above I just made up. If I am having trouble with it, I will change it up to make it doable for me. I don’t want to be injured so I will err on the side of rest if I feel something bad happening.

I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Canyon. Thanks so much for all you are doing to prepare and especially for the fundraising you are doing to raise money for brain cancer research.



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Maria ParkerRim to Rim: 10 Weeks Training Plan

From the Gulf to the Pacific – Tom Roberts ride for 3000 Miles to a Cure

by Maria Parker on August 24, 2017 Comments Off on From the Gulf to the Pacific – Tom Roberts ride for 3000 Miles to a Cure

Tom Roberts has been involved with 3000 Miles to a cure since 2013 when he crewed for my solo Race Across America.  He’s since volunteered for two more RAAM crews.  There’s only a few people in the world unselfish enough to do that.  During one particularly tough and sleepless section of RAAM 2017 we chanted together “never again, never again, never again….”, but knowing Tom – he’d do it again.  Don’t worry Tom, I won’t ask!

In addition to his incredible work ethic, Tom is one of the kindest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. He also has a quiet, but wicked sense of humor.  I was delighted when he decided to use his own epic journey from Texas to California, on a bike….. Self Supported,  as fundraiser for 3000 Miles to a Cure.  He raised a lot of money for brain cancer research and it was an adventure.  What follows is his blog.  Read and enjoy.  Thank you Tom for coming alongside us in the journey. We love having you with us and together, we’ll cure brain cancer.


Tom’s blog:

Like most, I discovered long-distance cycling in an incremental way. First there’s the ride around the block, then around the neighborhood, then local group rides. Then you hear there is a ride called a century, and you can’t believe it’s even possible to ride a bike that far, but something in you wants to do it…And you do it, and you eventually do it a bunch of times.  Then bike touring is discovered, which is when people ride many days consecutively; even cross-country or further.  I had the desire to do a long-distance bike tour for several years, but there were always things preventing it from happening. This summer, however, things seemed to fall in place for a self-supported tour, not all the way across the country, but from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean!

I was scheduled to be a crew member for Race Across America (RAAM) in June, supporting the four-person team 3000 Miles to a Cure.  For this I drove my car from my home in Texas to California.  At the completion of RAAM in Annapolis, instead to flying back to California to get my car, I flew home to Texas in order to set myself up for a cycling tour to California to retrieve my car.

Over the years I had collected most of what I needed for a multi-day tour (sleeping bag, air mattress, tent, panniers and most importantly the Cruzbike S30).  A few items were added in the weeks before the ride began, the most significant of which were a solar panel for charging electronics, a computer tablet, and a Garmin Edge Explorer 820 for cycling data and navigation. Since I live close to the Gulf Coast, dipping the back wheel of my bike in the Gulf of Mexico to start the ride seemed appropriate, and this is a custom for those departing from either the Atlantic or Pacific coast to make a cross-country trip.  The idea to raise funds and awareness for brain cancer research was somewhat of an afterthought.  3000 Miles to a Cure had been the charity for which the RAAM team had worked so hard for, raising $37,000.  So I thought, “Why not continue the effort on my tour?”  Maria was totally on board with the idea, and so another dimension was added to my trip, which actually became the most meaningful aspect of the adventure.  Now I wasn’t just riding to retrieve my car or to ride my bike 1,700 miles, but now the ride was to aid in the defeat of brain cancer!  My fundraising goal was $1,000 and thanks to all those following the journey I approximately doubled that amount!


The ride began Saturday, July 15th in the tiny community of Austwell, TX.  Early that morning the back wheel was dipped in the Gulf of Mexico, and the ride began.  That first day was one of the hardest physically.  I got acutely sick and thought that my first day might also be my last day.  But I completed the 75-plus miles and managed to regain my strength overnight.  The next morning I felt ready to go. With the exception of the last day’s ride on the Santa Ana River Trail, I had not ridden any of the route before.  So every day was a new adventure.  Day 2 ended in Charlotte, TX.  This town has no motels so I stopped at a church and asked if I could pitch my tent on their lawn.  They were fine with that and even let me shower the next morning. The next days finished in Hondo, Uvalde, and Del Rio, where I met Dex Tooke.  Dex is well known in RAAM circles, having ridden twice and crewed multiple times. We exchanged RAAM stories, and he gave me advice on the upcoming portion of the ride.  Leaving Del Rio, I crossed Lake Amistad, which is partly in Texas and partly in Mexico.  The terrain was getting rougher and the climbs were getting steeper and longer.  Eventually, I crossed the Pecos River and entered into the territory once governed by Judge Roy Bean, who was known as “The Law West of the Pecos.”  His courthouse doubled as a saloon.  This was in Langtry, where I spent another night in my tent.  From here, it was on to Sanderson and then Alpine, where I took my first rest day.  The next stopping point would be Van Horn, which was 102 miles down the road.  Marfa is in between, but not far enough along to stop for the day.  Outside Marfa there is a sign “Next Services 74 Miles”—an hour in a car but about 5 on a loaded bike.  I had plenty of water and made it with no problems.  Along the way I took pictures, some of which are of historical markers, which I never stop to read while travelling by car.  Between Van Horn and Fort Hancock I entered into the Mountain Time Zone (still in Texas).  There is a back road from Fort Hancock into El Paso, so I avoided I-10 for a while.  I stopped at a bike shop in El Paso for directions through the city and a customer gave me $20 for 3000milestoacure.  on day 13 I finally departed from the great state of Texas and head for Hatch, NM.  I saw pecan orchards everywhere watered by irrigation canals.   The irrigation canals first appeared east of Van Horn, and they continued through NM, AZ and CA.  I hadn’t realized there was such a network of these canals.  Without them this land would only be desert.  With them the desert blooms with pecans, cotton, chili peppers, dates, citrus and more.  Hatch is not much for motels, but Sparky’s is a great place to eat.

Next, it was on to Deming, then Lordsburg, and soon the state of Arizona. Safford was my first stay in this state and where I took my second rest day.  Globe came next. I passed through an Apache reservation along the way.  After a night in Globe, it was on to Superior.  It was only 25 miles but perhaps the most difficult and dangerous leg up to that point.  This is copper and gold mining country. …Lots of traffic and lots of steep gradients, both up and down.  I passed through a tunnel on a 7% downhill grade with no cars behind.  I was thankful to make it to the motel safely. Then it was on to the Glendale, AZ, which meant passing through the Phoenix metropolitan area.  Mesa was the first city.  I was a few miles into the ride on Hwy 60 when a highway patrolman informed me that riding on this road is not permissible. It was still a long way to Glendale. Garmin maps suggested paths along irrigation canals (some paved and some not) along with some busy streets. The day was extremely hot. I came across a Starbucks none too soon. Iced tea and air conditioning revived me for the rest of the day’s ride. The next day I covered 60 miles to Tonopah, AZ. My total mileage was over 1,200 at that point.  The following day was the longest of the entire trip. I ride 107 miles through blistering heat to Quartzsite, AZ, arriving at the Yacht Club Motel.  Each room had a different nautical theme.  I stayed in the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) room.  California was only a few miles away, and the next morning I crossed the Colorado River, entering into Blythe.  From there I headed south toward Cibola, AZ.  Since the border between to two states follows the river, I re-entered AZ.  The next morning an early start got me on the road to Brawley, CA, which is another very dangerous section.  Hwy 78 is a two lane road with steep rollers and no shoulder.  18-wheelers coming in both directions meant getting completely off the road on a number of occasions.  In the beginning the landscape looked like the surface of the moon, then around Glamis, CA, it became sand dunes and resembled the Sahara desert; then thanks again to irrigation, cultivated fields appeared approaching Brawley.

The next morning the riding began at 6:30am. My destination was Palm Desert.  The route was Hwy 111 almost all day. The road surface was chip seal but not as bad as Texas chip seal…just rough enough to make you want something better. 18 miles outside of Brawley came the town of Niland. From there for most of the rest of the day the pavement was extremely smooth….A pleasure to ride and many miles yet to go. The Salton Sea was off to my left for most of the day.  At one point the elevation was 200 feet below sea level!  There was not much activity, but it is a large body of water.

Approaching populated areas the desert began bearing fruit thanks again to irrigation…citrus, dates, grapes. All in all it was a good day on the bike though a bit warm (at least 111 degrees).  Day 27 (the next to last) was the day to forget, though the toughest experiences seem to be the ones that stick with us the longest.  Of the 62.8 miles I rode that day, probably 52 were spent on I-10. There is really not a good route between Palm Desert and Redlands for bikes. I was stopped by two CHPs. The first one informed me that bicycles are not permitted in this area but said that I could go ahead. That was about 15 miles from my destination. The second CHP with speaker blaring pulled me over and in no uncertain terms told me that I had to get off the freeway. I placated him, and he gave me good directions to my motel. I made it safely.  
Day 28: August 11, 2017
Redlands, CA, to Pacific Ocean at Huntington Beach. 70.1 miles.
Total: 1697 miles
This was the final day of my tour. I started about 8am, found my way to the Santa Ana River Trail (SART), and enjoyed not having to look out for cars. There are two sections to the SART which are not connected. The upper section plus the streets to get to the lower section is 40 miles; the lower section is 30 miles. A cycling friend, Glenn Frank, met me on the lower section, and we rode together for several miles. I enjoyed the company. And the SART is the only portion of the tour I had ridden before. I simply clicked off the miles until the deep blue sea was in view. 
Thankfully, a safe trip. …No real mishaps–not even a flat tire!  Also, the S30 handled very well fully loaded!
For what it’s worth here are a few lessons I learned.  They may be useful should you undertake a similar bike tour.
  • Pack as lightly as possible; then cut it in half.
  • Take care of your feet, hands, face, lips and seat.
  • Take care of the bike.
  • Wear full-fingered gloves. (I got blisters on both index fingers from sun exposure.)
  • SPF 50+
  • Spin don’t mash
  • Learn to appreciate 15 mph. (You may not see it that often.)
  • Don’t attack anything.  You will run out of fight before you run out of things to attack.
  • Accept the environment. 
  • Enjoy the journey. 

Thanks to all who followed and supported me and especially gave to my 3000 Miles to a Cure campaign on this journey,
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Maria ParkerFrom the Gulf to the Pacific – Tom Roberts ride for 3000 Miles to a Cure

Brain Cancer Took a Big Hit

by Maria Parker on July 4, 2016 Comments Off on Brain Cancer Took a Big Hit

Rob Decou and Mashall Reeves are home now, and hopefully beginning to recover from their Race Across America finishes. I’ve talked with a few of the crew, and they’ve each spoken of their experience with RAAM using terms like “epic,” and “unbelievable” with the same tired, but satisfied tones.  I too, am tired, but happy.  Each time I experience Race Across America, I come away exhausted and overwhelmed with so many emotions.


I’m so relieved that both racers and all the crew made it to Annapolis safely. After Marshall’s massage therapist. Jim Merchant,  was in a terrible accident driving Marshall’s car with all his gear to Oceanside (Jim is recovering and should heal completely), I wrestled with dark worries.  Thanks to the care and attention of all the crews, my worries were put to rest.

I am in awe of both Marshall Reeves and Rob Decou. These two men, with full-time jobs and families, competed in the world’s toughest race, proving themselves  both incredible endurance athletes and heroes to all of us who watched them.  They endured so much, and in the end, finished with the help their crews and the support of their extended communities and because of their commitment to the brain cancer community.


Rob Decou may be the biggest person to ever start Race Across America and certainly is the biggest person to finish it. His heart is as big as his tree trunk legs and massive arms. Rob takes community to a whole new level. He brought with him as many people that he loved as he could, and the rest served him from afar by donating, and writing encouraging messages.  In a sport that attracts mostly introverts and loners, Rob is a wonderful anomaly. Rob taught us what community and trust could do

Perseverance and toughness are the defining characteristics of Marshall Reeves.  This year was Marshall’s third attempt at Race Across America and he was determined to do what he had not done in 2012 and 2014..  All the way through the race, Marshall focused on what was going well. In the last days of the race he attacked the mountains of West Virginia, as if he had a vendetta against them; he’d left the race near Grafton West Virginia in his 2014 attempt. Marshall was John Wayne and Clint Eastwood rolled into one, and like the characters both of those actors played, he is incredibly kind and good under his obstinate resolve.

Over all my emotions and saturating all my thoughts is overwhelming gratitude.  I am so grateful to all of you in our 3000 Miles to a Cure Community.   Each of you gave so that those impacted by brain cancer might have hope and a chance for a future.  Some of you gave money, some donated time away from your families and jobs, many gave up sleep, some prayed and followed along, some of you did all of these.

Words of thanks are so little in comparison to the goodness of this great act of service, love and community. No one finishes Race Across America alone and  brain cancer will never be cured by a few.  Thank you for joining with us. Only together can we cure brain cancer.

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Maria ParkerBrain Cancer Took a Big Hit

He Must Finish

by Maria Parker on June 24, 2016 Comments Off on He Must Finish

This morning I woke up after only 2 and ½ hours of sleep, my head thick with exhaustion.  My first thought was, Marshall has been doing this for 9 days while cycling for 21 hours a day.  At this point in Race Across America, I’m incredulous that Marshall can keep going.  Yet go he does.  He and his crew say every day, we must finish.  This time, we must finish.   I feel their desperation.  Marshall must get an official finish this year, his third attempt.  

Last night Marshall got a big push toward Annapolis. An anonymous benefactor offered to donate $10 for each mile Marshall pedaled, (750 of them as of last night), only if he gets to Annapolis.

She said “Just tell him to finish,  It’s his third time, he’s not getting any younger. He will not have to do this a fourth time.  I so want him to finish. I know how terrible I have felt not finishing a measly 50 miles a few years ago…he must feel that a 1000 times stronger…He will finish.

When we told Marshall last night, he was overwhelmed.

This donor is challenging Marshall’s community to come alongside her and also pledge per mile donations.  Marshall has offered anyone who matches her pledge a signed 3000 Miles to a Cure jersey, one of the jerseys he has been wearing during his ride.  Any matching donation will encourage.  $.10 per mile is $70, $1.00 per mile is $700 dollars, or come up with your own amount.  Let’s get Marshall to the finish line.  He must finish.

Maria Parker

Marshall is racing to cure brain cancer. Every cent of every donation goes to brain cancer research. Join us.

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Maria ParkerHe Must Finish

Two Years

by Maria Parker on June 19, 2016 Comments Off on Two Years

Today marks two years since Jenny died.  I miss her now more than ever, especially as the memory of her illness fades and the memories of the love and encouragement she gave me over the previous 45 years grows stronger.

I can’t make any more memories with Jenny.  I’m stuck with what I have. No more cooking together, sharing recipes, no more trips to Pottery Barn, no more phone calls of encouragement around the holiday season when I get overwhelmed, no more walks together, no more reading every word of every sign at museums and other places we would travel together.   Jenny will never again sit on my couch with me and talk late into the night about how good God is.  

Where she was in my life,  there will always be a hole.

However, inside that hole now grows a burning desire to find a cure for brain cancer. This fire in my gut requires me to act, to fight to DO something.

Incredibly, I don’t have to  fight alone.

Two men, Rob Decou and Marshall Reeves have, for the last five days, been racing across the country on bicycles with  little or no sleep, climbing steep mountains, crossing burning deserts, and now fighting stiff, hot Kansas winds so that others may have hope.  They and their crews have joined with me to raise funds for research for brain cancer.

Marshall Reeves and Rob DeCou run into each other on day two of the course.

Marshall Reeves and Rob DeCou run into each other on day two of the course.

I invite you to join us.  We can never win this battle alone. Simply put, we must have money for research.  These next 5 days, as you watch these two incredible warriors fight their exhaustion, sunburn, saddle sores, sore muscles and joints, numb hands and feet, and continue pedaling again and again, please give.  As you think of their crews, who sacrifice vacation time, decent food, sleep and time with their own loved ones so that they can care for and protect these cyclists, make a donation.   

Each rider has a goal of $20,000 for brain cancer research. We are not even close to halfway there.  Please help bring us to the finish line, so that others may live.  Thank you.

Donate here:



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Maria ParkerTwo Years

In Your Corner

by Maria Parker on June 16, 2016 Comments Off on In Your Corner

This morning the media team breakfasted in Blythe, CA after a short night’s sleep in a Comfort Suites hotel. We sipped our coffee and strategized about how to tell the story of our racers, Marshall Reeves and Rob Decou as they rode through the desert.

A middle aged man approached us asking about our 3000 Mile to a Cure T-shirts. In a quaking voice he told us the story of his best friend, a teacher,who’d just had his third surgery to remove a brain tumor.  As he showed us cell phone pictures of the man and his young family, grief and frustration emanated from him.

The desire to do something, to take any action, to save a loved one is so familiar.   Mostly all we can do is sit by and watch them slide away from us – first surgery, then radiation and chemo, more surgery, more doctor’s visits, more medicine.   We hope, we support, we love, we pray, but these things seem so quiet. At times there is is a desire to hack at and punch and tear the horrible, evil cancer apart, screaming a warrior’s cry all the while.

Race Across America is a tough, physical battle. Rob and Marshall fight for us. They FIGHT. They fight the mountains, the heat, the nausea the exhaustion.. They’re on our team, doing what we cannot, fighting cancer with all the physicality they have. They will not stop.

Cancer sufferers and your families,  we’re in your corner.  We’re with you.  Hang in there.  BC_RAAM_2016_06_15-3

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Maria ParkerIn Your Corner

Crossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

by Maria Parker on May 12, 2016 Comments Off on Crossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

By now your 4 or more weeks into your training.  By this time some of the excitement of beginning is wearing off and we’re still a long way from the event.   If you find your motivation is starting to fail, below are some reminders of the benefits of this training program.  

But before we get into that, I’d like to thank you again for what you are doing. Your training and fundraising will make a difference for the many families impacted by brain cancer. A friend of mine recently was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As I watched he and his family struggle with the diagnosis and decide which of his limited treatment options to take, I felt angry and inspired again.   He knows he has just a little time left and he and his family are desperately trying to come to terms with this difficult diagnosis.  What you are doing will make a difference for my friend and others like him… so thank you again.

We all know exercise is good for us and we should do it more. We also know spinach is good for us and we should eat it more.  I honestly didn’t start eating more spinach until I discovered creamed spinach and spinach dip (spinach mixed with sour cream).  The point is, you have to figure out what makes exercise delicious.

One of the ways I make exercise delicious is to notice and focus on the ways exercise makes me feel when I am not exercising.  I won’t list the obvious ways exercise is good for you, the mainstream media has done a great job with that.  I want to enumerate the ways exercise benefits me mentally and spiritually.

  1. Exercise makes me more alert and productive.  For three hours after I exercise, I am clear thinking and motivated. This is such a noticeable benefit of exercise that lately I’ve started to go directly to my computer after exercise (do not  take a shower, do not collect a breakfast) and jump into the most challenging project I have.  This has reaped great rewards in terms of getting hard things done.
  2. Exercise makes me sleep better. As a menopausal woman, good, deep sleep is a rare treat.  When I exercise, particularly long or hard, I fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
  3. Exercise makes me happy, just ask my husband. Early in our marriage when I was cranky or irritable, my husband would kindly (and sometimes not so kindly) suggest I go out for a run.  He knew that when I got back I would be calm, happy and ready to deal with whatever had set me off before the run.
  4. Discipline begets discipline.  No one demonstrates this more than my son Steven.  He is married, with a child and one on the way. When we talk, I always ask him how his workouts are going.  The reason I ask him is that I know if he is working out, then everything else in his life is going well. By his own admission, when he works out he is a better husband, father and employee and, in general, feels much better about himself.
  5. Exercise gives you more hours in the day.  Exercise can be the first thing to go when life gets hectic.  I have found from long, painful experience that things are a lot easier on days when I exercise. There is some kind of magic going on here that I don’t really understand. When I exercise I seem to have more time to do everything else. Invest an hour in exercise and get back 2 hours – don’t ask me how it works, it just does. Try and see for yourself.
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Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

Crossing the Canyon: Equipment

by Maria Parker on May 11, 2016 Comments Off on Crossing the Canyon: Equipment

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

Hopefully your training is off to a good start and you are also beginning your fundraising campaign. Remember to go steady on both!

Crossing the Canyon in one day requires just a little equipment, but it makes sense to have it early in your training so that you can use it during your training.  

  1. Waterproof Sunscreen – remember to use it during your training, and bring it with you on the trip.
  2. Camelback-type water bladder (enough to carry at least 100 oz).  Use it while you train so you can get used to drinking from it frequently and refilling it as needed.
  3. Lightweight hiking shoes or running shoes. Whatever shoes you decide to wear, train in them.
  4. Bodyglide or vaseline – I use this under my bra straps and on my toes to keep blisters from forming.  Your first long hike should show you where you are likely to develop rubs or blisters.
  5. Food – carry high calorie easy to eat foods with you on your long endurance hikes.  Trail mix is named that for a reason. It’s loaded with calories and easy to carry.  
  6. Camera – if you are planning on bringing it on the hike, get used to carrying it. At the very least carry a cell phone on your training hikes so that you can call someone if you get into trouble.
  7. Buff – this is a terrific piece – something you can wear on your head or neck that will keep you warm or cool.  I bought one for Crossing The Canyon last year, and have worn it many times since.  The description from the Buff website says it all:  multifunctional tubular accessory ideal for many activities. Designed to keep you warm in the cold, will also wick moisture (sweat) away from your skin to keep you cool when it is hot. The lightweight, breathable, microfibre fabric is extremely comfortable to wear. USES: can be worn as a neckerchief, headband, wristband, mask, hair-band, balaclava, scarf, headband, scrunchie, saharaine, pirate cap, beanie and bandana.
  8. Salty foods and/or electrolyte pills. As you train this summer and fall, be sure to replace your lost electrolytes with electrolyte pills or salty foods such as pickles or salty chips. I take a product called Salt Sticks which has sodium and other electrolytes in it. When I am sweating heavily, I take a pill every hour or so.  

Keep up the good work with your training and fundraising!

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Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Equipment

Crossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips

by Maria Parker on May 10, 2016 Comments Off on Crossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

Fundraising for brain cancer research will bring a sense of purpose to your training over the next months and weeks.  It’s much easier to train when you know your event will benefit others.  It can be challenging fundraising though, so below are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Start early.  As soon as you have your fundraising page set-up begin fundraising. E-mail people the minute you start.  E-mail them frequently. Do a weekly blog talking about your experience training and send that out to friends and family.
  2. Ask, Ask Ask and don’t be inhibited about it.  Get over the nervousness early in the process.  Remember you are asking your friends and family to give to a charity that will give hope to people with brain cancer. Hope is in short supply when it comes to brain tumors.  Be proud of raising money for 3000 Miles to a Cure.  Remember you’re giving people an opportunity to be selfless and help others.  
  3. What’s your personal connection to the cause? Do you know someone who has brain cancer, someone who whose family was impacted by a brain tumor? Were you inspired by someone who led you to do the Crossing the Canyon?  Read about brain tumors to understand it’s impact. Read about research and the hurdles that researchers must overcome to find a cure. Talk frequently about your connection to the cause.
  4. Create a fundraising letter/e-mail that is compelling and personal.  It must explain why you are raising money for 3000 Miles to a Cure, and why it’s a great cause for people to donate to.  Tell people your personal story, what brings you to this cause.
  5. Include a call to action in your fundraising letter.  This seems obvious, but be sure to ask for donations and to ask your supporters to forward the request to others who may support 3000 Miles to a Cure.  
  6. Share your story with everyone and anyone you can think of.  Most people know someone who has suffered from cancer.  It’s impossible to predict who will relate strongly to your cause.  If you are doing the crossing with some one particular in mind, be sure to reach out to that person and/or their family and community for support.. Use snail mail too. Many people will respond to a letter or card they receive in the mail more readily than to an e-mail. Other communities to remember: neighborhood association, work friends, congregation and clubs.  
  7. Social Media.  Tell your story on facebook, twitter and instagram.  People may like or share your story and increase your reach.  Social media is also a great way to keep people posted on the progress of your training and fundraising.  
  8. Follow-up.  If someone promises to donate, set a reminder on your calendar to follow-up. Don’t be too aggressive, but most people don’t mind being reminded if they have already committed to giving.  
  9. Send personal thank you notes to every contributor. Make sure they know that their gift will have an impact on people who are fighting brain cancer and their families.

Fundraising is an opportunity to bring people together for a cause. Most people are delighted to give if they know it is a cause you care about.  Asking for their support allows your community to become  part of something bigger than themselves.


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Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips