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Jul 3 / theFrog

Peace Frogs Celebrates World Water With Release of “Give Seas a Chance” Design

Give Seas a Chance

Dolphins, sea turtles, frogs and celebrating the waters of the world.

That’s at the heart of Peace Frogs recent new design launch – Give Seas a Chance.

While Peace Frogs doesn’t promote any specific form of activism – our world needs peace in many ways now more than ever – celebrating nature and the environment has always been at the heart of what we do. Launching a new design that celebrates the oceans, the water and the need to promote taking care of it fits perfectly with our mission to live fun, do good.

The Peace Frogs Give Seas a Chance design is featured on an olive green, organic cotton t-shirt and available in sizes small to extra-extra large. The design incorporates a dolphin, sea turtle and signature Peace Frog.

World Oceans Day is celebrated each year in June.

We’re hoping this design encourages people to celebrate world oceans, seas, bays, creeks, rivers – whatever is important to you – everyday.

Jun 3 / theFrog

Peace Frogs Sticker Contest

Just in case you missed it earlier this year, or weren’t able to follow the contest on the official Peace Frogs Facebook page, here’s a sampling of the incredible places Peace Frogs fans have seen or placed stickers around the world.

In the inaugural Peace Frogs Facebook photo contest, we asked Peace Frogs fans to submit photos of places they’ve seen Peace Frogs stickers. The Facebook community voted by LIKING their favorite image. The winner received a $100 online gift certificate.

Which Peace Frogs sticker was your favorite?

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Peace Frogs Stickers

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May 28 / theFrog

Peace Frogs Annual Bank to Bank Charity Swim Raises Thousands to Benefit Laurel Shelter and Rural Infant Services Program

Twelve swimmers from across the region, and as far as Washington DC, took to the York River Sunday, May 26 and swam three miles in open water from Felgates Creek along the Colonial Parkway to a private residence on the Gloucester bank.

They muscled through the changing tide, cold water and wind not only in support of the annual Peace Frogs Bank-to-Bank Swim, but also for children.

In this, the 9th annual charity swim hosted by Peace Frogs, the swimmers each raised $1,000 individually or as part of a team to support children’s charities in Tidewater, Va.

Each year the Bank-to-Bank Swim benefits various charities that support children. The 2013 event supports the Laurel Shelter and Rural Infant Services Program.

Swimmers included Catesby Jones, President and Founder of Peace Frogs, Peter Wilcox, Richard Briggs, Karen Kovacs, Carly Carson, Ron Watkins, Terry Johnson, Tony Negron, Owen Ulsacker, Ron Meyers, Sandi Buckheister and Tucker Witt.

This is so much more than a swim. It’s about coming together in support of something that’s bigger than us. It’s about coming together to ensure children less fortunate than our own will be taken care of today and in years to come.

In the nine years of the swim, we have raised nearly $150,000 for children’s charities.

Without the participation of philanthropic minded swimmers we could have never done this.

The Laurel Shelter opened in 1997 in Gloucester, Va. to provide shelter for domestic violence victims. The shelter added a Sexual Assaults Crisis Center in 1999.

“We have 19 beds and this year at one point we had 34 people at the shelter,” said the Laurel Shelter director, Sherry Stone. “How? It’s the kids.”2013 Peace Frogs Bank to Bank Charity Swim

Stone said the funds from the Peace Frogs Bank to Bank Charity Swim will support summer activities for the children living at the shelter this summer – from Boys and Girls Club memberships to sporting activities and camps.

“A lot of people think of just the women when they think about the shelter,” said Laurel Shelter coordinator, Sandy Thornton. “But a lot of women bring their children because they don’t have anywhere else to go.”

It is hard on the children, Stone added.

“They are in a new place, they can’t tell their friends where they are.”

The Rural Infant Services Program provides services for infants and toddlers with special needs. Most of the services take place in the family’s home and can include physical, occupational and speech therapies, family support and educational materials and equipment.

The monies raised each year go to the Peace Frogs Bank-to-Bank Fund.

The fund is administered by the Gloucester Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. The fund is designated to support children of the Tidewater, Va. region.

Donations are still welcome anytime at www.tcfrichmond.org/peacefrogs.

May 20 / theFrog

Swimming Tip: Plan Your Swim and Swim Your Plan

By Karen Kovacs, PT, OCS, USAT Level-1 Coach

Tidewater Physical Therapy and Peace Frogs Bank to Bank Swimmer

The Peace Frogs Bank to Bank Swim is May 26, 2013.

No doubt, you’ve logged some serious laps in the pool.

You have a very good idea of the time it will take to swim a mile, two miles and to finish the event if conditions are ideal: no waves, minimal current, and perfect temperature.

But since perfect conditions rarely exist, be sure you’ve thought through how you will manage your anxiety if things are not perfect. Now is the time to think about the details that will enhance your experience crossing the York River.

Determine how you are getting to the starting point and how long will it take you to drive there. Build in a buffer of time so that you are not rushing.

How will you get your dry clothes to the finish? Have you communicated all of this and made the same plans with your safety kayaker?

If you are wearing a wetsuit, make sure it fits properly and you know how it will feel to swim in it. Decide what you are wearing underneath and what you will use to keep from chafing.

Make certain your goggles are in good shape or get a new pair now to get them adjusted just right.

Have a bright colored swim cap to make it easy for your safety kayaker to spot you. Practice swimming in that cap to make sure you don’t get a headache from it being too tight.

Decide now if you will have a water bottle or any nutrition (gels) in your safety kayak. Be sure you practice “eating” and drinking while treading water if you plan to consume anything during the swim. You don’t want to get an upset stomach because you didn’t test out what you plan to eat or drink.

Think about how will you settle in to the swim pace that you have been practicing. Do you expect to breathe every stroke or alternate sides?

Be sure you know how often you will sight to keep on course.

Anticipate how you will determine the impact of the tide, current, wind, and waves on the line you swim. Decide how far away will your safety kayak will be and on which side of you.

Remember that wind will affect the kayaker, too.

Have a plan and stick to that plan to minimize stress on the day of the event.

Swim the pace you have been practicing; don’t start out too fast.

The more details you have thought through, the less hectic you will feel getting into the water and finding your rhythm.

Plan your swim. Swim  your plan.

Apr 29 / theFrog

Swimming Tip: Managing Anxiety

By Karen Kovacs, PT, OCS, USAT Level-1 Coach

Tidewater Physical Therapy and Peace Frogs Bank to Bank Swimmer

Really? Yes. Yes. Yes.

It’s not unusual to feel anxious about swimming in open water. Many times you have limited visibility underwater, waves and current, deep water with nowhere to rest, and your imagination starts going places you wish it wouldn’t. There are no lane lines or walls to hold and no lifeguard watching over a protected and marked area. Heart rate is increasing just thinking about getting in the water. You question why you entered the event.

As with anything, the more experience and practice you have in the open water, the less intimidating it becomes. So now is the time to start doing some short swims in open water. Start trying to identify what makes you nervous about the open water.

Acknowledging your feelings without judgment is the first step in Mindfulness training.

Shinzen Young wrote that, “Mindfulness practice trains your nervous system to know itself better and interfere with itself less.”

By identifying what makes you anxious before the event, you can develop a strategy to help keep your emotions in check when those fears surface. As negative self talk creeps in, redirect your thoughts and focus on good stroke technique and finding a steady pace.

You will want to practice calming yourself down by focusing on getting into a rhythm with your breathing and stroke pattern.

It will feel like you are swimming slowly because you don’t have the visual reference of the pool walls, lane lines, or bottom tiles to give you feedback on your forward motion.

Sometimes waves can give you a feeling of vertigo.  You may feel like your wetsuit is too tight or that you are getting too warm.  Try to relax.

Try repeating a positive mantra: “I have trained for this swim.  I am OK.  I can do this.  I am safe.”

ddress the things that are making you uptight and go through a mental check list affirming that you are okay.

Have your goggles, cap, and wetsuit adjusted and ready for the start.  Allow time for a warm up swim so that you are not surprised by the temperature or current.

Review the plan with your safety kayaker: how far away he or she will be, which side of you will the boat be, and how you will signal that you need to hold on to the boat.

It takes practice to learn how to manage the anxiety you may experience in open water swimming. Set yourself up for success by including some sessions in open water as part of your training.

Nosce te ipsum.  Know thyself.

Apr 29 / theFrog

Swimming Tip: Wear a Wetsuit

By Karen Kovacs, PT, OCS, USAT Level-1 Coach

Tidewater Physical Therapy and Peace Frogs Bank to Bank Swimmer

Really? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Depending on your pace, you will be in the water at least an hour (and perhaps quite a bit longer) to swim three miles in the Peace Frogs Bank-to-Bank Swim.

Wetsuits provide thermal insulation and give you an advantage because they provide buoyancy.  This means your energy gets used for propulsion, not staying afloat.

Jay Peluso, owner of Peluso Open Water in Richmond, VA, recommends you wear a wetsuit in any event that is wetsuit legal.

“Wetsuits are, without question, faster than swimming without a wetsuit,” states Peluso.

This is supported by a large amount of research that has compared the performance of swimmers and triathletes with and without wetsuits.

Now this means you can’t borrow your neighbor’s scuba diving wetsuit: that one is designed to compress and sink; not exactly what you are looking for in the Peace Frogs Bank-to-Bank three mile York River crossing.

Be sure to practice in the wetsuit you will be swimming in on May 26th.  It will feel different and you want to be certain it fits you properly and won’t cause any unnecessary anxiety on event day.

Peluso reminds us “body type, neck fit, and a comfortable cut are unique for each individual.  You have to practice in the wetsuit you will use.”

Peluso recommends a wetsuit with sleeves if at all possible because sleeves are faster.  He cautions that “some swimmers who have been training their whole lives without wetsuits may feel overly constricted or lose their feel for the water if they swim in sleeves.”

Some people argue that a sleeveless wetsuit is easier to remove.

Peluso points out that “taking the top part of a wetsuit off is never an issue; it’s the legs that are difficult to remove.”

Peluso supports full legs, too, and not a shorty.

“The more coverage you have, the faster you will be.”

And though the Bank-to-Bank Swim is not a race, no doubt you want to cross the York River in the least amount of time you can.

Renting a wetsuit vs. buying one is a personal decision.

Peluso says, “If you aren’t going to be doing many races, then it makes more financial sense to rent.  Trying a wetsuit is vital.  Just like you would never try a brand new pair of running shoes on race day, you should never try a wetsuit for the first time on race morning.”

Apr 29 / theFrog

Swimming Tip: Dry Land Swim Training & What To Do in the Gym to Prepare for an Open Water Swim

By Karen Kovacs, PT, OCS, USAT Level-1 Coach

Tidewater Physical Therapy and Peace Frogs Bank to Bank Swimmer

You may wonder how your time in the gym is best spent if your goal is to improve your performance as a swimmer in the  Peace Frogs Bank-to-Bank Swim May 26. Justin Heinle and Josh Miller, Performance Coaches at the Tidewater Performance Center in Gloucester, VA  provide some excellent suggestions to help you make the most of your out-of-the-water training time.

While it seems to be taking forever for the water temperatures to warm up, consider adding these exercises to your workout. If you have never done a session with a fitness trainer or coach, it is a great investment in your physical health. You will find there is probably no better way to improve your technique and overall performance than to utilize their expertise.

Dead Lift

Justin Heinle recommends the dead lift as a great exercise for swimmers for both the upper and lower body. It will develop the glute strength needed to kick effectively during the swim. The main job of the gluteus maximus is hip extension. When you flutter kick, you extend your hip over and over again.

Heinle points out that many swimmers will have very mobile shoulders without the stability. This may cause shoulder problems. The dead lift, when done correctly, will allow the swimmer to pack his or her shoulder girdle in place. Pulling heavy weight from the floor cannot be matched in any other exercise for shoulder girdle stability and strength.

The last major component of the dead lift that will benefit swimmers is the core training. Heinle reminds us that maintaining proper posture is what our core was meant to do. Pulling heavy weight from the floor  will add stress to the core that cannot be found in any other exercise.  Efficient swimming requires engaging the muscles of the core  to move through the water in a stream lined position.

Video: Justin Heinle Demonstrates the Dead Lift

Single Leg Dead Lift

The single leg dead lift has many of the same components that benefit swimming as the dead lift. Heinle suggests that there is a need to do both.  The bilateral dead lift (using two legs) will benefit the athlete overall because of the load that you can put yourself under.  Moving heavy things is how we get stronger. No more messing around with those light weights.

But the big downfall of that dead lift is that if an athlete has an asymmetry from right to left, then it will add to that asymmetry. Heinle explains that if the right side is more dominant than the left, the dead lift using both legs simultaneously will actually make this imbalance even worse.  The single leg technique does not allow  as much of a load to be used, but it does enable an opportunity to focus on the asymmetries that may exist.

Heinle describes another benefit of the single leg technique is that it, like flutter kicking, involves kicking  one leg at a time, not both. So practicing an exercise like the single leg dead lift may be considered more functional for a swimmer.

Video: Heinle Demos the Single Leg Dead Lift

Tabata Conditioning

Conditioning is always going to be beneficial to improve open water swimming. Aerobic capacity is what will help an athlete maintain a consistent stroke that cuts through the water for an extended period of time. Steady state aerobic work is running, biking, or swimming that is sustained for an extended period of time.

Heinle suggests that when training only involves steady state work, overuse injuries may result.

Doing the same thing repetitively can play a big role in injuries when the activity is not done precisely correct. When technique is flawless, usually no harm is done, but most athletes are not moving with perfect technique. Training in Tabata form allows athletes to improve aerobic capacity and aerobic power in a different way.

Using a cycle of 20 seconds of intense exercise and 10 seconds rest or recovery for four minutes trains the Kreb’s cycle (the body’s system for replenishing muscles with energy) to buffer and replenish our muscles faster. Heinle emphasizes that this will help you maintain your swim stroke during an endurance event.

Any form of exercise put into Tabata form is beneficial. Dry land training that integrates kettle bell swings, ropes, sprints, body squats, sleds, bike and row machine sprints all in the Tabata style format will likely help you in in your swim.

Video: Miller Demos a Tabata Workout

Salve sis.  May you be well.

Karen Kovacs, PT, is Clinical Director at Tidewater Physical Therapy of Gloucester and USAT Level 1 Triathlon Coach.
Justin Heinle, Performance Coach,  Tidewater Performance in Gloucester, VA
Josh Miller,  Head Performance Coach, Tidewater Performance in Gloucester, VA

Apr 29 / theFrog

Peace Frogs Partners with Tervis Insulated Drinkware

Tervis Peace Frogs

This just in for “Tervo-maniacs” and “Peace Frog Fans.”

We are pleased to announce that in June 2013 classic Peace Frogs designs will be available on Tervis insulated tumblers, mugs and water bottles. Look for them here – at www.peacefrogs.com – this summer!

“Working with Tervis not only helps us promote positively peaceful living on drinkware that we all know and value already, but it’s also an eco-friendly option in drinkware,” said Catesby Jones, Peace Frogs Founder and President. “When we encourage our fans to live fun and do good, that means to each other and the environment.”

The Tervis Peace Frogs collection retains the features of all Tervis drinkware – keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Tervis drinkware reduces condensation and are virtually unbreakable, safe in the microwave, dishwasher and freezer. Tervis drinkware also offers a lifetime guarantee.

The Peace Frogs designs are available in various sizes and range in price from $11-25.

Apr 26 / theFrog

Peace Frogs and Running for the Rainforest

Peace Frogs is dedicated to help protect the Amazon rainforest and pleased to announce a partnership with the Amazon Conservation Team’s (ACT) third annual Run for the Rainforest 5K.

ACT’s Run for the Rainforest will be held June 23 in Arlington, Va. at the Marymount University 5K course.

“ACT encourages communities all over the world to act locally and think globally,” said Catesby Jones, Peace Frogs Founder and President. “Peace Frogs hopes people will share positively peaceful vibes. Bridge those two missions together and we have an opportunity to enact some real change.”

The goals of ACT are to help stop climate change and environmental destruction. The Run for the Rainforest raised more than $40,000 in 2012, with a goal of topping $50,000 this year. All proceeds from the event benefits ACT’s efforts to protect the Amazon and its traditional culture.

Protecting the Amazon also means protecting the frogs that live within it.

“ACT was founded in 1996 right here in Arlington, and we are proud of our local roots,” said ACT President Mark J. Plotkin in a letter to partners about the event. “We are an international not‐for‐profit conservation strongly committed to the belief that the people who best know, use and protect the rainforest are the indigenous communities who live there.”

According to ACT, operations in Colombia, Suriname and Brazil have helped more than 30 tribes map, manage, and protect their territories.

“Community participation and engagement is essential to our work in the rainforest—and it is also critical to the success of our local annual race,” Plotkin said.

The Run for the Rainforest is expected to draw more than 450 runners, with more than 1,500 friends and family members gathered to support.

Learn more about the Run for the Rainforest at www.actrunfortherainforest.org.

Learn more about the Amazon Conservation Team at www.amazonteam.org.

Apr 8 / theFrog

Peace Frogs Names 2013 Bank to Bank Charity Swim Recipients

Bank to Bank logo

The 2013 Peace Frogs Bank-to-Bank Swim will help children from families victim to domestic violence and those born with special needs but not enough support to get the services they require.

Catesby Jones, founder and president of Peace Frogs, announced this month that the annual event will benefit the Laurel Shelter and Rural Infant Services Program.

The Laurel Shelter opened in 1997 in Gloucester, Va. to provide shelter for domestic violence victims. The shelter added a Sexual Assault Crisis Center in 1999.

“The Laurel Shelter is open to women and their children, and our mission is to support children’s charities,” Jones said.

The Rural Infant Services Program provides services for infants and toddlers with special needs. Most of the services take place in the family’s home and can include physical, occupational and speech therapies, family support and educational materials and equipment.

“In the eight years we have held the event, we have raised over $140,000 for children’s charities,” Jones said.

Without the participation of philanthropic minded swimmers, like Dr. Peter Wilcox of the Wilcox Eye Center, who’s participated each year since the first event, Jones said, “we could have never done this.”

The 2013 Bank-to-Bank swim is set for May 26 at 1 p.m., with registration still open to individuals and teams.

The Bank-to-Bank swim crosses the York River, starting at Felgates Creek along Virginia’s Colonial Parkway near Williamsburg, and ending at a private residence in Gloucester County, tucked between Carter and Cedar Busk Creek.

To participate, a swimmer must raise at least $1,000 in donations for the Peace Frogs Bank-to-Bank Fund.

The fund is administered by the Gloucester Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. The fund is designated to support children of the Tidewater, Va. region.

Interested swimmers can register by contacting Jones via email at catesby@mindspring.com.

“If you can’t swim, or you know someone who may be able to swim, please put them in touch with me,” Jones said.

Teams are permitted to register to share the swimming distance as well as fundraising requirements.

Donations are welcome anytime at www.tcfrichmond.org/peacefrogs.