The Outside Blog

Running : Jan 2010

Texting Help to Haiti

Courtesy of LucasTheExperience/Flickr

The MGive Foundation has raised more than $4 million for Haiti via its wireless campaign, CNET reports. People have been donating in $10 increments by texting "Haiti" to the number 90999. The U.S. State Department and the Red Cross set up the Haiti campaign through the foundation. If you'd like to make more than two donations via texting, check with your mobile carrier first--most carriers only allow a maximum of two text donations per month.

If you're looking to contribute in another way, Wyclef Jean also has a relief campaign for his native country. You can donate $5 by texting "Yele," the name of his charity organization, to the number 501501. You can also donate online, if you want to contribute a greater amount.

--Aileen Torres

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On Preventing Sports Injuries

Today the New York Times reported that Swiss ski phenom Lara Gut will miss the Olympics due to a hip injury sustained in a crash in October. Whenever I hear news like that, I feel a sharp pang of sympathy. In the past few years I have been plagued with injuries, and each is parts maddening, frustrating and identity-crushing. It must only be magnified dozens of times for a pro. 

Of course, I am not a professional athlete, and my injuries tend to be related to overuse and inflammation rather than trauma. But that means that they are probably more preventable, which also means I need to get my head out of my ass and figure out how to prevent them. 

So during these humble struggles with a lower back misalignment, calf tear, hip bursitis, and knee tendinitis, I have collected a few glimmers of preventative wisdom that I hope will keep me doing the sports I most love: nordic and backcountry skiing, running, hiking, and biking. Here's a little of what I've gleaned, and at the moment I am blissfully injury-free. If any of you mysterious and silent blog readers want to chime in with your brilliant advice, I'm all ears. 

1. Hip Openers 

Holy tight hips, man! I learned from a fascial-release therapist in Durango that there's a big, fat mess of ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons that connect throughout your hips, pelvis, and lower back. If one part gets tight, it can pull on other parts and cause a domino effect of pain. 

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The Spoke Word: Contador Press Conference Live Stream

I'm in Calpe, Spain, with team Astana. We just got back from a training ride with the team (well, we rode with them for an hour then got dropped like a bunch of fat journalists). Also saw the Garmin-Transitions and Quick Step teams out on the road. Popular place for winter training.

We'll be attending a press conference with Tour de France champ Alberto Contador later today that will be streamed live right here at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. I'll also be interviewing him later. So if you have any questions for him, leave a comment and I'll try to ask them.

—John Bradley

Twitter: johnwbradley

Free TV Show from Ustream

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Letter: Doctors Without Borders

Each month we get more letters than we can publish in the magazine. Going forward we will be publishing some of those letters on our blog to spur even more conversation. Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section below, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

The following letter comes in From Doctors Without Borders in response to Nicholas Kristof's article, How to Save the World and Influence People.

In “How to Save the World & Influence People,” the “fresh, wet tear, with a bit of hope glistening below” that Nicholas Kristof advocates non-profits use in our marketing materials is aimed at an easy win.

More often than not, the unglamorous side of marketing makes the difference. Doctors Without Borders conducted 145 marketing tests in 2009 alone with changing the font in our letters from 12 to 14 point producing the biggest difference.  This testing is all to ensure we reduce our fundraising costs to put more dollars towards our field programs.

No amount of marketing can replace the honest exchange that brings in those valuable committed donors. Ultimately, loyalty is cultivated based on more than just tears.  It is cultivated through information, transparency, and building trust with your donors.

Jennifer Tierney
Development Director, Doctors Without Borders

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Caster Semenya's Gender Still in Question

Athletics South Africa (ASA) says that gold medalist runner Caster Semenya will not get the green light to compete again until she is cleared by the IAAF's gender testing, Reuters reports. The IAAF ordered the tests after Semenya won the women's 800 meters at the world championships in Berlin in August 2009. The international governing body of athletics became suspicious because of Semenya's vast improvement in performance in such a short period.

Semenya insists that she is a woman and that the publicity of the case has caused her difficulties. Semenya's coach, Michael Seme, says she's gearing up to compete locally starting February 19. But the ASA says, "We can only allow her to participate in events once we get clarity from the IAAF, not at this stage."

For an in-depth look at the issue and how it has affected Semenya, check out this New Yorker profile by Ariel Levy.

--Aileen Torres

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